The State of the Ostheer - May 1942

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
ljadw
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 29 Jan 2020 11:33

Peter89 wrote:
29 Jan 2020 09:08
ljadw wrote:
24 Jan 2020 11:14
About the Unconditional Surrender demand : on September 3 1939, Chamberlain said in the Commons that the war would last til the destruction of national socialism .
About Thomas :
1 He was exaggerating Germany's problems : he said that there was only sufficient fuel til October .We know that he was wrong .
2 In the short term (1941-1945 ) the occupation ,exploitation and colonisation of the European part of the SU would not help Germany, it would even hurt Germany .In the long term (after 1945 ) : Hitler speculated that in the far future (fifties or sixties ) there would be a war about world supremacy between Europe ( dominated by Germany ) and America ( dominated by the US ) and in such a war Germany would need the raw materials and food of the Eastern occupied territories .But in the far future also, the Eastern territories would not help,even not save Germany ,because Germany had not the means to occupy,colonize and exploit these territories . The truth is that the attempt to occupy them , colonize them and exploit them would ruin Germany and result in the collaps of the Third Reich before 1953 .
3 Does that mean that Barbarossa was stupid ? NO . Because the reason and even the aim of Barbarossa was NOT to occupy,colonize and exploit
these territories.
4 Whatever: without Barbarossa,Germany was doomed, if Barbarossa failed Germany was also doomed, if Barbarossa succeeded ,Germamy was also doomed .
5 Barbarossa was a desperate attempt to transform a desperate situation in a situation where Germany had still a chance to finish a victorious war .
1. He was talking about fuel reserves, but okay, he might have been wrong in a few instances
2. Agreed
3. I disagree, Barbarossa was indeed stupid. As long as the SU was an independent player in international politics, and Hitler could preserve the Reich's military for a clash with the British Empire, he had cards in his hands. Even if all the military and economic goals of Barbarossa could be achieved (reaching the A-A line in 1941 with minimal casualties and the Soviet infrastructure intact), it would weaken the Wehrmacht (and the Luftwaffe) to such extent that the war against Britain was already lost.
4. This statement of yours kind of contradicting the previous one, huh? Without Barbarossa, Germany had a narrow window of opportunity to end the war with a peace on its terms. After Barbarossa, they had zero chance. Just think about WW1 where Germany actually defeated Russia, but was still defeated and lost the war.
5. Yes, and I am arguing that it was an impossible attempt. There was no outcome that could profit Germany to win the war.

The Anglo-Saxon powers needed time to mobilize their resources for war. The British Isles had a nearly impregnable defense on the sea and in the air, but the Mediterran and Africa was weakly defended, and the Germans had plenty of experience in African warfare, as Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck could tell about it.
1 Thomas was not only wrong ( the Germans were still able to launch Blau in July 1942 ) but what he said was also irrelevant : with more fuel, the Germans still would fail to defeat the SU in 1941,and with less fuel for the Germans, the Soviets would still fail in the winter to to to Berlin in March 1942 .
About points 3 and 4 : it is the opposite : without a successful Barbarossa , Germany was doomed to wait til the arrival of Spaatz in Britain and the combined attacks of BC and the USAAF on the German cities . They knew that Spaatz would come and they knew that they could not match the allied air superiority . The only way to prevent this was to prevent Spaatz from coming,by eliminating Britain in 1941,and this could only be done
if the SU was eliminated .The elimination of the SU could or eliminate Britain ( which would prevent the Yanks from coming ) or would prevent the Yanks from coming and force Britain to give up .
The problem was to dissolve the British/US alliance before it would be a coalition that would be invincible . As Germany could do nothing directly against the US and nothing directly against Britain, only the elimination of the SU remained as solution .The longer Germany waited the less chance it had to defeat the SU and the less chance the defeat of the SU would dissolve the Anglo-American alliance .
5 About Lettow-Vorbeck : he fought a defensive war in the jungle of Tanganyka, not a war in the desert of NA .Besides the importance of NA/ME for Germany was insignificant : there were only Arabs, sand and flies in the ME was the proverb .
The conquest of the ME was impossible
If it was done,it would demand time and resources,which Germany did not have
And its conquest would not break the Anglo-American alliance .

Peter89
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 29 Jan 2020 22:41

ljadw wrote:
29 Jan 2020 11:33
Peter89 wrote:
29 Jan 2020 09:08
ljadw wrote:
24 Jan 2020 11:14
About the Unconditional Surrender demand : on September 3 1939, Chamberlain said in the Commons that the war would last til the destruction of national socialism .
About Thomas :
1 He was exaggerating Germany's problems : he said that there was only sufficient fuel til October .We know that he was wrong .
2 In the short term (1941-1945 ) the occupation ,exploitation and colonisation of the European part of the SU would not help Germany, it would even hurt Germany .In the long term (after 1945 ) : Hitler speculated that in the far future (fifties or sixties ) there would be a war about world supremacy between Europe ( dominated by Germany ) and America ( dominated by the US ) and in such a war Germany would need the raw materials and food of the Eastern occupied territories .But in the far future also, the Eastern territories would not help,even not save Germany ,because Germany had not the means to occupy,colonize and exploit these territories . The truth is that the attempt to occupy them , colonize them and exploit them would ruin Germany and result in the collaps of the Third Reich before 1953 .
3 Does that mean that Barbarossa was stupid ? NO . Because the reason and even the aim of Barbarossa was NOT to occupy,colonize and exploit
these territories.
4 Whatever: without Barbarossa,Germany was doomed, if Barbarossa failed Germany was also doomed, if Barbarossa succeeded ,Germamy was also doomed .
5 Barbarossa was a desperate attempt to transform a desperate situation in a situation where Germany had still a chance to finish a victorious war .
1. He was talking about fuel reserves, but okay, he might have been wrong in a few instances
2. Agreed
3. I disagree, Barbarossa was indeed stupid. As long as the SU was an independent player in international politics, and Hitler could preserve the Reich's military for a clash with the British Empire, he had cards in his hands. Even if all the military and economic goals of Barbarossa could be achieved (reaching the A-A line in 1941 with minimal casualties and the Soviet infrastructure intact), it would weaken the Wehrmacht (and the Luftwaffe) to such extent that the war against Britain was already lost.
4. This statement of yours kind of contradicting the previous one, huh? Without Barbarossa, Germany had a narrow window of opportunity to end the war with a peace on its terms. After Barbarossa, they had zero chance. Just think about WW1 where Germany actually defeated Russia, but was still defeated and lost the war.
5. Yes, and I am arguing that it was an impossible attempt. There was no outcome that could profit Germany to win the war.

The Anglo-Saxon powers needed time to mobilize their resources for war. The British Isles had a nearly impregnable defense on the sea and in the air, but the Mediterran and Africa was weakly defended, and the Germans had plenty of experience in African warfare, as Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck could tell about it.
1 Thomas was not only wrong ( the Germans were still able to launch Blau in July 1942 ) but what he said was also irrelevant : with more fuel, the Germans still would fail to defeat the SU in 1941,and with less fuel for the Germans, the Soviets would still fail in the winter to to to Berlin in March 1942 .
About points 3 and 4 : it is the opposite : without a successful Barbarossa , Germany was doomed to wait til the arrival of Spaatz in Britain and the combined attacks of BC and the USAAF on the German cities . They knew that Spaatz would come and they knew that they could not match the allied air superiority . The only way to prevent this was to prevent Spaatz from coming,by eliminating Britain in 1941,and this could only be done
if the SU was eliminated .The elimination of the SU could or eliminate Britain ( which would prevent the Yanks from coming ) or would prevent the Yanks from coming and force Britain to give up .
The problem was to dissolve the British/US alliance before it would be a coalition that would be invincible . As Germany could do nothing directly against the US and nothing directly against Britain, only the elimination of the SU remained as solution .The longer Germany waited the less chance it had to defeat the SU and the less chance the defeat of the SU would dissolve the Anglo-American alliance .
5 About Lettow-Vorbeck : he fought a defensive war in the jungle of Tanganyka, not a war in the desert of NA .Besides the importance of NA/ME for Germany was insignificant : there were only Arabs, sand and flies in the ME was the proverb .
The conquest of the ME was impossible
If it was done,it would demand time and resources,which Germany did not have
And its conquest would not break the Anglo-American alliance .
1. I don't know why you cling so much to his assessment of the oil supplies. His predictions were the bests in the OKW, because he predicted that Germany simply does not have the raw materials to win a short, sharp, decisive war against the SU. The civilian consumption in Germany was not even restricted badly in the first half of 1941. Thus when the stocks became lower and lower, the economy shifted resources from the civilian consumption to the military consumption. Allocation of POL products changed too. There was plenty of resources to allocate to the Heer / Luftwaffe, other sectors, training schools, whatnot. But all of this was against Thomas' idea of war in depth, because the cumulative effect of the short term solutions were huge. What he meant was that the Germans did not have enough oil to run their war machine on every front. And he was right.

Btw Georg Thomas was a member of the supervisory board at Kontinentale Öl, which was making a 1,43m RM loss in 1941, and even though it made a profit of 1,14m RM in 1942, it was a disaster. So yes, he had a clue what he was talking about.

3.-4.
it is the opposite : without a successful Barbarossa , Germany was doomed to wait til the arrival of Spaatz in Britain and the combined attacks of BC and the USAAF on the German cities .
Not at all. We've been through this several times. Germany had plenty of choices, and in 1941 no one possessed enough aerial power to pulverize cities to such extent as the Allied had done in 1943-1945. Also, the US was not a belligerent yet, so the Germans didn't know that "Spaatz will come". I still don't get it why do you think that Germany could be in better position with a successful Barbarossa against the British Empire? Facing an immense wasteland with little infrastructure, thousands of kilometers of a border, not to mention the casualties and whatnot. The occupation itself would drain too much manpower... Any single plane that was shot down above the SU was a direct damage to the German chances against England.

5. Hahahahah lol. No. It wasn't jungle warfare :D Just take a look at the map of Africa. And he was quite offensive, he practiced guerilla warfare. Besides, you are wrong if you think that there were only Arabs, flies and sand in NA/ME. Also, the disintegration of the British Empire had to start somewhere. Btw the more important colonies lay further south. Had the Germans opened up a corridor to the Italian Abessina, and maintained the Vichy control over the West Africa (see Battle of Dakar), it could have made more sense than "taking Moscow before the winter" or other crap.

Why was the ME impossible to control? Had the Germans focus their resources to that region, the Iraqi coup'd etat could have worked and Operation Exporter could be stopped. The result would be the subsequent disintegration of the BE, which was underway anyway. They could have helped the Indian freedom movement too.

In fact it was easier to change the colonial administration and to crush the British troops in Africa than to attack the Soviet Union.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Jan 2020 02:20

Peter89 wrote:The civilian consumption in Germany was not even restricted badly in the first half of 1941.
What are you basing this on? USSB and Milward? Have you read any of Tooze or Overy?
This is a view of the Nazi wartime "Blitzkrieg" economy that has been totally discredited over the last couple decades.
Civilian consumption was already restricted pre-war; it fell further in the first years.
One of the statistical mistakes that earlier writers made was to look at all "consumer goods." What this ignores is that the army became the largest user of consumer goods during the war. Tracing these flows from production to consumption is more difficult than simply looking at statistics for the production of consumer goods, which probably explains the superficial "Blitzkrieg economy" view supported by earlier scholars like Milward and Rankiy.
Peter89 wrote:Thomas' idea of war in depth,
It bears repeating that General Thomas was pretty bad at his job and a pretty bad economist overall. With good reason he lost a lot of his power during January 1940 (appointment of Todt) and more of it thereafter.

Recent scholarship demonstrates that Germany embarked on an "investment boom" from the very earliest years of the war, absolutely destroying the idea that Germany's war effort was shallow.
https://economics.yale.edu/sites/defaul ... 060329.pdf
Facing an immense wasteland with little infrastructure, thousands of kilometers of a border, not to mention the casualties and whatnot.
Viewing the SU as a wasteland with little infrastructure is just flatly wrong. SU's rail infrastructure was very well-developed, supporting the third-highest steel and coal production in the world in 1940. https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945 (see the second half of the article - published academically - for a discussion of Soviet railways).
The occupation itself would drain too much manpower.
Ostheer never devoted more than 250,000 soldiers to occupation of ~1/3 of the Soviet population.
Partisan activity was not a major factor until 1943 and even then the Germans were able to supply their armies with minor interference.
Partisan activity relied in great part on Stavka support and varied with the success/approach of RKKA. Were the Ostheer to defeat SU, Stavka support would have vanished and the willingness of individuals to risk their lives in a pointless guerrilla war would be low.
Also, the US was not a belligerent yet, so the Germans didn't know that "Spaatz will come".
Hitler's planning assumed the U.S. would enter the war already. Indeed by 1941 they were basically an undeclared belligerent, having taken responsibility for defending a large part of the Atlantic from Uboats (to say nothing of Lend Lease). The effect of the U.S. giving its bomber production Britain instead of flying them itself alone would have meant, basically, that "Spaatz was coming." (Harris coming with Spaatz's bombers would have made little practical difference)
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 30 Jan 2020 07:56, edited 1 time in total.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

hauptman
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by hauptman » 30 Jan 2020 05:23

Thank you for the references!

ljadw
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 30 Jan 2020 08:47

Peter89 wrote:
29 Jan 2020 22:41
ljadw wrote:
29 Jan 2020 11:33
Peter89 wrote:
29 Jan 2020 09:08
ljadw wrote:
24 Jan 2020 11:14
About the Unconditional Surrender demand : on September 3 1939, Chamberlain said in the Commons that the war would last til the destruction of national socialism .
About Thomas :
1 He was exaggerating Germany's problems : he said that there was only sufficient fuel til October .We know that he was wrong .
2 In the short term (1941-1945 ) the occupation ,exploitation and colonisation of the European part of the SU would not help Germany, it would even hurt Germany .In the long term (after 1945 ) : Hitler speculated that in the far future (fifties or sixties ) there would be a war about world supremacy between Europe ( dominated by Germany ) and America ( dominated by the US ) and in such a war Germany would need the raw materials and food of the Eastern occupied territories .But in the far future also, the Eastern territories would not help,even not save Germany ,because Germany had not the means to occupy,colonize and exploit these territories . The truth is that the attempt to occupy them , colonize them and exploit them would ruin Germany and result in the collaps of the Third Reich before 1953 .
3 Does that mean that Barbarossa was stupid ? NO . Because the reason and even the aim of Barbarossa was NOT to occupy,colonize and exploit
these territories.
4 Whatever: without Barbarossa,Germany was doomed, if Barbarossa failed Germany was also doomed, if Barbarossa succeeded ,Germamy was also doomed .
5 Barbarossa was a desperate attempt to transform a desperate situation in a situation where Germany had still a chance to finish a victorious war .
1. He was talking about fuel reserves, but okay, he might have been wrong in a few instances
2. Agreed
3. I disagree, Barbarossa was indeed stupid. As long as the SU was an independent player in international politics, and Hitler could preserve the Reich's military for a clash with the British Empire, he had cards in his hands. Even if all the military and economic goals of Barbarossa could be achieved (reaching the A-A line in 1941 with minimal casualties and the Soviet infrastructure intact), it would weaken the Wehrmacht (and the Luftwaffe) to such extent that the war against Britain was already lost.
4. This statement of yours kind of contradicting the previous one, huh? Without Barbarossa, Germany had a narrow window of opportunity to end the war with a peace on its terms. After Barbarossa, they had zero chance. Just think about WW1 where Germany actually defeated Russia, but was still defeated and lost the war.
5. Yes, and I am arguing that it was an impossible attempt. There was no outcome that could profit Germany to win the war.

The Anglo-Saxon powers needed time to mobilize their resources for war. The British Isles had a nearly impregnable defense on the sea and in the air, but the Mediterran and Africa was weakly defended, and the Germans had plenty of experience in African warfare, as Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck could tell about it.
1 Thomas was not only wrong ( the Germans were still able to launch Blau in July 1942 ) but what he said was also irrelevant : with more fuel, the Germans still would fail to defeat the SU in 1941,and with less fuel for the Germans, the Soviets would still fail in the winter to to to Berlin in March 1942 .
About points 3 and 4 : it is the opposite : without a successful Barbarossa , Germany was doomed to wait til the arrival of Spaatz in Britain and the combined attacks of BC and the USAAF on the German cities . They knew that Spaatz would come and they knew that they could not match the allied air superiority . The only way to prevent this was to prevent Spaatz from coming,by eliminating Britain in 1941,and this could only be done
if the SU was eliminated .The elimination of the SU could or eliminate Britain ( which would prevent the Yanks from coming ) or would prevent the Yanks from coming and force Britain to give up .
The problem was to dissolve the British/US alliance before it would be a coalition that would be invincible . As Germany could do nothing directly against the US and nothing directly against Britain, only the elimination of the SU remained as solution .The longer Germany waited the less chance it had to defeat the SU and the less chance the defeat of the SU would dissolve the Anglo-American alliance .
5 About Lettow-Vorbeck : he fought a defensive war in the jungle of Tanganyka, not a war in the desert of NA .Besides the importance of NA/ME for Germany was insignificant : there were only Arabs, sand and flies in the ME was the proverb .
The conquest of the ME was impossible
If it was done,it would demand time and resources,which Germany did not have
And its conquest would not break the Anglo-American alliance .
1. I don't know why you cling so much to his assessment of the oil supplies. His predictions were the bests in the OKW, because he predicted that Germany simply does not have the raw materials to win a short, sharp, decisive war against the SU. The civilian consumption in Germany was not even restricted badly in the first half of 1941. Thus when the stocks became lower and lower, the economy shifted resources from the civilian consumption to the military consumption. Allocation of POL products changed too. There was plenty of resources to allocate to the Heer / Luftwaffe, other sectors, training schools, whatnot. But all of this was against Thomas' idea of war in depth, because the cumulative effect of the short term solutions were huge. What he meant was that the Germans did not have enough oil to run their war machine on every front. And he was right.

Btw Georg Thomas was a member of the supervisory board at Kontinentale Öl, which was making a 1,43m RM loss in 1941, and even though it made a profit of 1,14m RM in 1942, it was a disaster. So yes, he had a clue what he was talking about.

3.-4.
it is the opposite : without a successful Barbarossa , Germany was doomed to wait til the arrival of Spaatz in Britain and the combined attacks of BC and the USAAF on the German cities .
Not at all. We've been through this several times. Germany had plenty of choices, and in 1941 no one possessed enough aerial power to pulverize cities to such extent as the Allied had done in 1943-1945. Also, the US was not a belligerent yet, so the Germans didn't know that "Spaatz will come". I still don't get it why do you think that Germany could be in better position with a successful Barbarossa against the British Empire? Facing an immense wasteland with little infrastructure, thousands of kilometers of a border, not to mention the casualties and whatnot. The occupation itself would drain too much manpower... Any single plane that was shot down above the SU was a direct damage to the German chances against England.

5. Hahahahah lol. No. It wasn't jungle warfare :D Just take a look at the map of Africa. And he was quite offensive, he practiced guerilla warfare. Besides, you are wrong if you think that there were only Arabs, flies and sand in NA/ME. Also, the disintegration of the British Empire had to start somewhere. Btw the more important colonies lay further south. Had the Germans opened up a corridor to the Italian Abessina, and maintained the Vichy control over the West Africa (see Battle of Dakar), it could have made more sense than "taking Moscow before the winter" or other crap.

Why was the ME impossible to control? Had the Germans focus their resources to that region, the Iraqi coup'd etat could have worked and Operation Exporter could be stopped. The result would be the subsequent disintegration of the BE, which was underway anyway. They could have helped the Indian freedom movement too.

In fact it was easier to change the colonial administration and to crush the British troops in Africa than to attack the Soviet Union.
The oil stocks did not become lower and lower
Stocks of motor oil
End 1939 280000 ton
End 1940 599000
End 1941 379000
End 1942313000
End 1943 436000
End 1944 118000
Besides, the increasing or decreasing of stocks ,which are fuel that is not used, is irrelevant .
It was impossible for the Axis force in NA to go to Ethiopia through Sudan .
\And to go to Ethiopia was only a wast of resources and of time ,besides the conquest of Sudan would not force Britain to give up .
For the ME : the Axis had not the resources to control the ME, and a control of the ME would not force Britain to give up .

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jan 2020 08:50

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
Peter89 wrote:The civilian consumption in Germany was not even restricted badly in the first half of 1941.
What are you basing this on? USSB and Milward? Have you read any of Tooze or Overy?
No, I base it on the very serious decrease in quantity and quality of the rationing. See also:
viewtopic.php?t=159844
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=141802
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=40650

Before Barbarossa, hunger and malnutrition was on an acceptable level. After Barbarossa, which was supposed to bring more profit than the trade with the Soviets, the situation detoriated rapidly. When Thomas said before Barbarossa "we will run out of POL, grain, etc." he was right.

And yes, I've read War and economy in the Third Reich and the Wages of Destruction.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
This is a view of the Nazi wartime "Blitzkrieg" economy that has been totally discredited over the last couple decades.
Civilian consumption was already restricted pre-war; it fell further in the first years.
Never stated it otherwise.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
Peter89 wrote:Thomas' idea of war in depth,
It bears repeating that General Thomas was pretty bad at his job and a pretty bad economist overall. With good reason he lost a lot of his power during January 1940 (appointment of Todt) and more of it thereafter.
The war was waged against his economical ideas, and as we all know, the Germans won by a great margin, right?

He was a pretty good economist imho. He realized that if you look at modern warfare, you need quality infrastructure; for the Luftwaffe, you need easily supplied airports with hangars and concrete airstrips, trained mechanics, flight schools, spare parts and whatnot. For the Kriegsmarine you need ports, port facilities, cadet schools, air cover, etc. etc. And he realized that Germany simply does not have and cannot afford what it takes to attack the SU. And he was right again.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
Recent scholarship demonstrates that Germany embarked on an "investment boom" from the very earliest years of the war, absolutely destroying the idea that Germany's war effort was shallow.
https://economics.yale.edu/sites/defaul ... 060329.pdf
Germany's war effort wasn't shallow, but it wasn't in line with the grand strategy. The sheer numbers they spent on military indicates that. https://i.redd.it/pp7c5khh52kz.png
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
Facing an immense wasteland with little infrastructure, thousands of kilometers of a border, not to mention the casualties and whatnot.
Viewing the SU as a wasteland with little infrastructure is just flatly wrong. SU's rail infrastructure was very well-developed, supporting the third-highest steel and coal production in the world in 1940. https://www.hgwdavie.com/blog/2018/3/9/ ... r-19411945 (see the second half of the article - published academically - for a discussion of Soviet railways).
I never said that the whole SU was an underdeveloped wasteland... don't put words into my mouth. East of the A-A line the Germans would have faced immense wastelands with little infrastructure. Most of the railway network of the SU was west of the A-A line: http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png The war wouldn't stop there, you know? Even if the Germans are able to reach the A-A line in 1941, their difficulties would grow and their performance would shrink. This was such a commitment they simply couldn't afford. The proper economical exploitation of the SU could only come AFTER the window of opportunity to crush the Wallies has closed already. Thus, attacking the SU is a bad idea. Thomas was right here too.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 02:20
Also, the US was not a belligerent yet, so the Germans didn't know that "Spaatz will come".
Hitler's planning assumed the U.S. would enter the war already. Indeed by 1941 they were basically an undeclared belligerent, having taken responsibility for defending a large part of the Atlantic from Uboats (to say nothing of Lend Lease). The effect of the U.S. giving its bomber production Britain instead of flying them itself alone would have meant, basically, that "Spaatz was coming." (Harris coming with Spaatz's bombers would have made little practical difference)
As long as the US would be an undeclared belligerent, the Germans stood a chance IF they only compete with Britain. FDR couldn't shift the public opinion fast enough to enter into a war, mobilize the war industry, train the soldiers and whatnot before 1943. Yes, eventually the US would join the war, it would crush the economical system of the colonial empires, etc. etc. and the nuclear bomb project was giving it an edge over any powers in the world. So any window for any opportunity would close eventually, US was on its way to world domination. But we are talking about the terms of what came afterwards. Imperial Russia got defeated in WW1 and France got defeated in WW2, but these defeats would count for nothing after the war.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

ljadw
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 30 Jan 2020 09:18

About Thomas : he was wrong, double wrong:
first he said that the Ostheer would have no fuel after October 1941 : this was wrong .
secondly ,he said ( following Peter ) that the Ostheer had not the raw materials to defeat the SU in a short campaign ,which is also wrong : Germany had the needed raw materials to defeat the SU in a short campaign of a few weeks, something which was the foundation of Barbarossa .
About the arrival of Spaatz : the Germans expected that war with the US would not last ,it would happen at last in 1942 .That's why a few days before Barbarossa ,Hitler ordered to give the war against Britain priority again ( Source : VaBanque P43 ).This was for the possibility that even after a successful Barbarossa,Britain would continue the war .If this happened, Germany would be forced to adopt a defensive strategy: it would take a year to have more operational U Boats and an intensification of the U Boat war would only hasten the US DOW.An increase of the aircraft production would also take a lot of time, and Milch proposed to produce a part of these aircraft in factories in occupied Russia . Which proves how desperate Germany's situation was .(same source : P44 )

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jan 2020 09:20

ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47

It was impossible for the Axis force in NA to go to Ethiopia through Sudan .
Why exactly?
ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47
\And to go to Ethiopia was only a wast of resources and of time ,besides the conquest of Sudan would not force Britain to give up .
For the ME : the Axis had not the resources to control the ME, and a control of the ME would not force Britain to give up .
How could Britain give up? Either if the Germans invade the Isles or if they cut off the imports.

The RAF and the air defense system was an impossibly hard nut to crack. The isles couldn't be invaded.

Cutting off the imports and control of the seas had to start somewhere; the Mediterraneum was a nice prize and its loss would be a major blow to the British morale. Unlike SU, Germany didn't need to occupy and fight millions of soldiers in the British colonies. It was a war that they could afford. Japan launched its offensive against European colonial possessions - with great effect. Had Germany done the same, instead of attacking its partner the SU, they clearly stood a better chance against the BE.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Jan 2020 09:42

Peter89 wrote:The war was waged against his economical ideas, and as we all know, the Germans won by a great margin, right?
This takes the form of a very simple logical error - the inverse. ["Not Thomas means not success", where the original proposition is that Thomas right: "Thomas means not success"]

I'll concede you're not advancing the inverse specifically, but you're clearly suggesting that failure to follow Thomas' recommendations explains German failure. As a matter of logic that simply doesn't follow: there are infinite other reasons for German failure than ignoring Thomas.
And yes, I've read War and economy in the Third Reich and the Wages of Destruction.
Then I don't see how you can possibly have suggested that civilian consumption was "not restricted badly."
...unless your thesis assumes that only extreme civilian hardship implies sufficient mobilization. That's plainly not true, as the margin between sustainable and "extreme" hardship is quite small as a percentage of rich countries' GDP (e.g. Germany), and therefore elimination of that margin has little impact on resources deployed.
Never stated it otherwise.
Then why raise the issue? Unless you think the very small delta extracted from civilian consumption during latter war years would have been sufficient to make a difference in outcome... Which would undercut your argument that war with SU had no chance of success.
Germany's war effort wasn't shallow, but it wasn't in line with the grand strategy. The sheer numbers they spent on military indicates that. https://i.redd.it/pp7c5khh52kz.png[/img]
No idea what a simple chart of military spending in 1939 is supposed to argue.
Germany made many mistakes that we can discuss but none of them is apparent from that chart.
I never said that the whole SU was an underdeveloped wasteland... don't put words into my mouth. East of the A-A line the Germans would have faced immense wastelands with little infrastructure. Most of the railway network of the SU was west of the A-A line: http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png The war wouldn't stop there, you know? Even if the Germans are able to reach the A-A line in 1941, their difficulties would grow and their performance would shrink. This was such a commitment they simply couldn't afford. The proper economical exploitation of the SU could only come AFTER the window of opportunity to crush the Wallies has closed already. Thus, attacking the SU is a bad idea.
The words came from a direct quote, it wasn't at all clear you're talking about only the SU past the AA line.
What you're not addressing is the relevance/strength of the SU if it loses all territory up to AA line (or beyond), whether in '41 or '42.

Regarding rail infrastructure, you should study the files on soldat.ru regarding the rail lines east of Volga in 1940. http://www.soldat.ru/files/4/10/137/

Ostheer would have had plenty of infrastructure to move towards the Urals against a dramatically-weakened RKKA (again, you're ignoring the impact of loss of so much land/resources on RKKA strength). Towards the main pre-Urals centers of Perm, Ufa, and Orenburg run double-tracked railways. After that it's a short hop to the Urals industrial cities, after that the SU is a tertiary power if it somehow manages to avoid starvation, including of fuel.

...which raises another critical point you ignore: the wartime SU was critically food-threatened. Even the most critical factories in the Urals couldn't feed workers adequately, losing many man-hours to send sickly workers to "refeeding" facilities. Lose all the breadbasket regions west of the Volga and how do you maintain even the wretched '42/43 standard of living? How do you grow food in worse land after losing all fuel resources, without sending every factory worker/soldier to the farms? If you send everyone to farms, how do you field/arm an army?

Don't take this personally, but this kind of argumentation is what most bothers me about the current state of general discussion of WW2 Eastern Front. It's a failure to take the SU's assets seriously. It's as if the SU is always some imponderable font of resources, regardless of which cities and agricultural areas it loses. It wasn't - Soviet territorial losses during '41/42 had a huge impact on the course of WW2 and even on the Cold War.
As long as the US would be an undeclared belligerent, the Germans stood a chance IF they only compete with Britain. FDR couldn't shift the public opinion fast enough to enter into a war, mobilize the war industry, train the soldiers and whatnot before 1943. Yes, eventually the US would join the war, it would crush the economical system of the colonial empires, etc. etc. and the nuclear bomb project was giving it an edge over any powers in the world. So any window for any opportunity would close eventually, US was on its way to world domination. But we are talking about the terms of what came afterwards. Imperial Russia got defeated in WW1 and France got defeated in WW2, but these defeats would count for nothing after the war.
Not sure what you mean here. You seem to concede that Germany had no way of winning anyway?

Regardless, your response appears irrelevant to an attack on the SU, regardless of the chances of such attack. It fails to account for the resources and strategic depth gained by conquering the SU. I understand you don't think conquering would work but you also say that successful conquering wouldn't have mattered. For the latter argument to make any sense it has to relate to Germany's position vis-a-vis Anglosphere in cases where it has or hasn't added the SU's territories to its assets.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 30 Jan 2020 16:04

Peter89 wrote:
30 Jan 2020 09:20
ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47

It was impossible for the Axis force in NA to go to Ethiopia through Sudan .
Why exactly?
ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47
\And to go to Ethiopia was only a wast of resources and of time ,besides the conquest of Sudan would not force Britain to give up .
For the ME : the Axis had not the resources to control the ME, and a control of the ME would not force Britain to give up .
How could Britain give up? Either if the Germans invade the Isles or if they cut off the imports.

The RAF and the air defense system was an impossibly hard nut to crack. The isles couldn't be invaded.

Cutting off the imports and control of the seas had to start somewhere; the Mediterraneum was a nice prize and its loss would be a major blow to the British morale. Unlike SU, Germany didn't need to occupy and fight millions of soldiers in the British colonies. It was a war that they could afford. Japan launched its offensive against European colonial possessions - with great effect. Had Germany done the same, instead of attacking its partner the SU, they clearly stood a better chance against the BE.
Sudan : the distance between Cairo and Khartoum is 1580 km,1580 km of desert and tropical jungle. Impossible to traverse by a mechanized army .
How to force Britain to give up ?
Invasion was impossible
Cutting off its imports was also impossible, besides it would risk to hasten US intervention .Besides,it would take too long .
There was no reason to dominate the Mediterranean,as the Italian DOW had already as result that the Mediterranean was no longer used for convoys to and from the east ,the convoys were going via Africa .
Japan launched its offensive against European colonies,because it had a big fleet and because this big fleet could operate in the Pacific .Germany had no big fleet and no Pacific .
What would have been the benefit for the Axis,if their forces were at the end of 1941 in Khartoum ?
The only ( very very small ) chance for the Germans was to eliminate the USSR, because Britain needed a lot of cannon fodder and only the SU could give this .
The only chance for a palace revolution in Whitehall and the replacement of Churchill by Hoare,was the arrival of the WM at the Volga in the Autumn of 1941 .

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jan 2020 17:10

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Jan 2020 09:42
Peter89 wrote:The war was waged against his economical ideas, and as we all know, the Germans won by a great margin, right?
This takes the form of a very simple logical error - the inverse. ["Not Thomas means not success", where the original proposition is that Thomas right: "Thomas means not success"]

I'll concede you're not advancing the inverse specifically, but you're clearly suggesting that failure to follow Thomas' recommendations explains German failure. As a matter of logic that simply doesn't follow: there are infinite other reasons for German failure than ignoring Thomas.
And yes, I've read War and economy in the Third Reich and the Wages of Destruction.
Then I don't see how you can possibly have suggested that civilian consumption was "not restricted badly."
...unless your thesis assumes that only extreme civilian hardship implies sufficient mobilization. That's plainly not true, as the margin between sustainable and "extreme" hardship is quite small as a percentage of rich countries' GDP (e.g. Germany), and therefore elimination of that margin has little impact on resources deployed.
Never stated it otherwise.
Then why raise the issue? Unless you think the very small delta extracted from civilian consumption during latter war years would have been sufficient to make a difference in outcome... Which would undercut your argument that war with SU had no chance of success.
Germany's war effort wasn't shallow, but it wasn't in line with the grand strategy. The sheer numbers they spent on military indicates that. https://i.redd.it/pp7c5khh52kz.png[/img]
No idea what a simple chart of military spending in 1939 is supposed to argue.
Germany made many mistakes that we can discuss but none of them is apparent from that chart.
I never said that the whole SU was an underdeveloped wasteland... don't put words into my mouth. East of the A-A line the Germans would have faced immense wastelands with little infrastructure. Most of the railway network of the SU was west of the A-A line: http://users.tpg.com.au/adslbam9//Railways1941.png The war wouldn't stop there, you know? Even if the Germans are able to reach the A-A line in 1941, their difficulties would grow and their performance would shrink. This was such a commitment they simply couldn't afford. The proper economical exploitation of the SU could only come AFTER the window of opportunity to crush the Wallies has closed already. Thus, attacking the SU is a bad idea.
The words came from a direct quote, it wasn't at all clear you're talking about only the SU past the AA line.
What you're not addressing is the relevance/strength of the SU if it loses all territory up to AA line (or beyond), whether in '41 or '42.

Regarding rail infrastructure, you should study the files on soldat.ru regarding the rail lines east of Volga in 1940. http://www.soldat.ru/files/4/10/137/

Ostheer would have had plenty of infrastructure to move towards the Urals against a dramatically-weakened RKKA (again, you're ignoring the impact of loss of so much land/resources on RKKA strength). Towards the main pre-Urals centers of Perm, Ufa, and Orenburg run double-tracked railways. After that it's a short hop to the Urals industrial cities, after that the SU is a tertiary power if it somehow manages to avoid starvation, including of fuel.

...which raises another critical point you ignore: the wartime SU was critically food-threatened. Even the most critical factories in the Urals couldn't feed workers adequately, losing many man-hours to send sickly workers to "refeeding" facilities. Lose all the breadbasket regions west of the Volga and how do you maintain even the wretched '42/43 standard of living? How do you grow food in worse land after losing all fuel resources, without sending every factory worker/soldier to the farms? If you send everyone to farms, how do you field/arm an army?

Don't take this personally, but this kind of argumentation is what most bothers me about the current state of general discussion of WW2 Eastern Front. It's a failure to take the SU's assets seriously. It's as if the SU is always some imponderable font of resources, regardless of which cities and agricultural areas it loses. It wasn't - Soviet territorial losses during '41/42 had a huge impact on the course of WW2 and even on the Cold War.
As long as the US would be an undeclared belligerent, the Germans stood a chance IF they only compete with Britain. FDR couldn't shift the public opinion fast enough to enter into a war, mobilize the war industry, train the soldiers and whatnot before 1943. Yes, eventually the US would join the war, it would crush the economical system of the colonial empires, etc. etc. and the nuclear bomb project was giving it an edge over any powers in the world. So any window for any opportunity would close eventually, US was on its way to world domination. But we are talking about the terms of what came afterwards. Imperial Russia got defeated in WW1 and France got defeated in WW2, but these defeats would count for nothing after the war.
Not sure what you mean here. You seem to concede that Germany had no way of winning anyway?

Regardless, your response appears irrelevant to an attack on the SU, regardless of the chances of such attack. It fails to account for the resources and strategic depth gained by conquering the SU. I understand you don't think conquering would work but you also say that successful conquering wouldn't have mattered. For the latter argument to make any sense it has to relate to Germany's position vis-a-vis Anglosphere in cases where it has or hasn't added the SU's territories to its assets.
We are talking about two different bananas here, so I decided to state my position on the matter instead of answering piecemal a neverending misunderstanding.

I THINK Germany's rearmament programme between 1933-1939 was breit and costly. So I don't think there was a "Blitzkrieg economy" or anything like that. German rearmament ran as early and as fast as it could. This was mainly because Germany had to rebuild its navy, its army, its air force from a scratch.

Moreover, the main economical problem, ie. Germany had to import almost every kind of raw material (expect coal) for hard foreign exchange; thus, almost everything was subject to a naval blockade (see The Economic Problem in Williamson Murray's Strategy For Defeat: The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945, https://books.google.hu/books?id=e0RwCwAAQBAJ ). Therefore Germany introduced autarchical measures in agriculture, introduced rationing and such before the onset of war - thus decreasing food imports, thus saving foreign exchange for rearmament-related imports.

Facing this fundamental strategical problem of economic nature, Georg Thomas drew up two different paths: the breite und tiefe (the width and depth) of armament (see: Breite und Tiefe der Rüstung. In: Militärwissenschaftliche Rundschau, 2. Jg. (1937), 2. Heft, S. 189-197.). Germany cannot import enough raw materials to build every kind of arms to a competitive level. This implied that Germany had to focus on import-nonsensitive technology and quality rather than quantity. Almost completely ignoring this idea, Hitler gave permission to every kind of armament programs, which were, at best, halfway through when the war broke out.

I THINK it was a terrible idea for Germany to go to war. If I was there, I would have advised against it. But I wasn't there and I could never serve Nazism, because my fundamental point of view in business and private life is to utilize human resources instead of making distinctions by birth. I firmly believe that the Nazi (and Communist) idea sow the seeds of its own demise. Thus the economical, political and diplomatic opportunities could never be exploited to such extent as they could have been with proper statecraft. The reliance on sheer, raw force meant that Germany couldn't afford to lose, ever; and stalemates were just a slower way of losing.

The rapid victories in 1940-1941 meant that Germany took control of vast amount of resources (iron ore from Lorraine, France, bauxite from France and Hungary, grain from Poland), secured others (copper from Bor, Serbia, manganese from Úrkút, Hungary, oil from Romania and Hungary, chrome from Turkey), not to mention the stockpiles in these countries.

After the fall of France, Germany had a window of opportunity to exploit this victory and crush the British Empire before the American entry to the war, and before the Wallies could mobilize their resources for war.

Up to this point, the civilian consumption and the rationing was acceptable in Germany. The Soviet-German trade agreement provided even more strategic resources. See the links I provided before.

When Hitler began to rave about the invasion of the SU, Georg Thomas drew up two different paths once again: if you put all our resources for one card, you better to be sure that the math will work. If the Soviet stockpiles, industry and whatnot could be taken intact and with minimal losses, only then could Barbarossa pay the dividends Hitler had hoped for. Even then, the population had to be starved out (Hunger Plan). When ljdaw quoted that the "Germans will run out of fuel by October" meant that the Germans will run out of fuel by October IF they ever want to compete with Britain. The war had to be short, decisive, taking huge amount of loot and suffer minimal casualties IF the rations and the military infrastructure (training schools, etc.) were to be maintained at the same level of quality.

So if the SU could not (or doesn't worth to) be occupied up to Vladivostok, it is better not invade it at all. There is nothing like a stable A-A line, even if the SU loses 2/3 of its population. As long as the rest can fight, the Wallies will help them. The L-L was enough to tie down significant portion of the Wehrmacht (including the Luftwaffe!), thus weakening the German military capabilities against Britain by a substantial margin.

The other path is to use this window for the conception and implementation of a grand strategy that can defeat the British Empire. If the isles can't be attacked directly, the KM and the LW should focus on the tonnage war, and the WM and the LW on the colonies and bases in striking distance. Chipping away the RN's capital ships one by one, get new bases, etc. Thus, Germany could preserve its economical strength for these years.

I THINK even with such a strategy the Germans couldn't have won simply by military means. A 80/90 million nation couldn't rule the world alone, not in 1940. And there comes ljdaw's favorite argument: "they thought it will work, because it had to work". There is much truth in that, because the fundamental strategic assumptions regarding Barbarossa were, at best, wishful thinking.

To mix things up :D
And to get back to the original topic of the thread. I also think that the Soviet Union could have been defeated by military means. But it would also mean that the war was 100% surely lost for Germany. In this case, the commitments on the other theatres had to be reduced to minimum, the Axis alliance had to be fully mobilized, and plans for a 2-3 years campaign had to be drawn up. I don't think it is a sensible idea, but it had more than zero chance to work.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jan 2020 17:45

ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 16:04
Peter89 wrote:
30 Jan 2020 09:20
ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47

It was impossible for the Axis force in NA to go to Ethiopia through Sudan .
Why exactly?
ljadw wrote:
30 Jan 2020 08:47
\And to go to Ethiopia was only a wast of resources and of time ,besides the conquest of Sudan would not force Britain to give up .
For the ME : the Axis had not the resources to control the ME, and a control of the ME would not force Britain to give up .
How could Britain give up? Either if the Germans invade the Isles or if they cut off the imports.

The RAF and the air defense system was an impossibly hard nut to crack. The isles couldn't be invaded.

Cutting off the imports and control of the seas had to start somewhere; the Mediterraneum was a nice prize and its loss would be a major blow to the British morale. Unlike SU, Germany didn't need to occupy and fight millions of soldiers in the British colonies. It was a war that they could afford. Japan launched its offensive against European colonial possessions - with great effect. Had Germany done the same, instead of attacking its partner the SU, they clearly stood a better chance against the BE.
Sudan : the distance between Cairo and Khartoum is 1580 km,1580 km of desert and tropical jungle. Impossible to traverse by a mechanized army .
How to force Britain to give up ?
Invasion was impossible
Cutting off its imports was also impossible, besides it would risk to hasten US intervention .Besides,it would take too long .
There was no reason to dominate the Mediterranean,as the Italian DOW had already as result that the Mediterranean was no longer used for convoys to and from the east ,the convoys were going via Africa .
Japan launched its offensive against European colonies,because it had a big fleet and because this big fleet could operate in the Pacific .Germany had no big fleet and no Pacific .
What would have been the benefit for the Axis,if their forces were at the end of 1941 in Khartoum ?
The only ( very very small ) chance for the Germans was to eliminate the USSR, because Britain needed a lot of cannon fodder and only the SU could give this .
The only chance for a palace revolution in Whitehall and the replacement of Churchill by Hoare,was the arrival of the WM at the Volga in the Autumn of 1941 .
The distance doesn't matter because there was no major army formations in Africa at that time. East Africa Command was created in September 1941, by that time, the Axis could have taken control of the vital parts of Africa, thus strengthening the alliance with the Vichy and the French, and whatnot. The whole British garrison in Africa wasn't even the size of HGN in the SU. Conquering it would mean the possible exploitation of its resources. The pro-German Barry Hertzog was recently removed from office in South Africa, and the Vichy administration was in place. Why do you think the British bothered to take all these colonies from Axis rule as their first step against the Axis? Because it meant that the Axis can only lose without them, and because they were easy to conquer.

As for the ME, the British had to fight actual wars against freedom movements in Iraq, and later they invaded Syria and Lebanon. The outlook on the Indian ocean meant a wide range of strategical possibilities too. If you believe that taking the ME was impossible, you are clearly wrong. To occupy it could be costly, but to control it could be easy.

As for India, the Indian National Army fought against the British and the US supported them, that colony was on the verge of independence (which they achieved soon after the war).

As for the control of the Mediterran sea, it was a preliminary requisite for any invasions / trade in the direction of ME or Africa.

I bet that the British would not give up because a German unit saw some river in Eastern Europe. It is such a fantasy as taking Moscow = victory over the Soviets.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 30 Jan 2020 19:58

There are a lot of problems with a German "Britain first" strategy.

First, Germany could not conquer Britain. Germany's navy was too weak, and the British navy was too strong. The only way to physically defeat an enemy you cannot conquer is to to starve them out in a siege. But this was impossible for the same reason: Germany's navy was too weak, and Britain's was too strong. The U-boats never came close to starving out Britain. At most, the U-boats may have delayed the build-up of Allied forces preparing to invade Europe (as TheMarcksPlan and I have debated on other threads).

If you cannot defeat an enemy physically, then you have to defeat them mentally. Germany could only do that through terror bombing and by threatening British possessions in the Mediterranean. Terror bombing increased rather than decreased British determination, and the British territories under threat in the Mediterranean represented only a tiny sliver of the entire British Empire that Britain could easily do without. It would have taken another year after Crete to rebuild the Fallschirmjager for an assault on Malta and/or to get the Italian amphibious assault capability up and running. Until that happens, Axis logistics in the Mediterranean are too weak to sustain an advance past El Al Emain. By then it's summer 1942 and the USA is only a few months away from invading North Africa (the USA would have entered the war regardless of whether Hitler declared war), so the Mediterranean is lost anyway.

And even if Germany miraculously conquered the Mediterranean before the USA could intervene, Britain would still keep fighting. The Allies could launch counterattacks into the Mediterranean from Morocco or, if Spain entered the war on the Axis side, from the Canaries. The Allies would still control the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf and would have had the resources to launch counterattacks from these locations into the Mediterranean. Germany thus has to defend both flanks of the Mediterranean as well as the coast of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway against an Allied invasion that could come anywhere any time.

And on top of all this, Germany has to maintain a large ground army in Poland and Romania to guard against an inevitable Soviet invasion.

In short, it was impossible for Germany to win the war by focusing solely on Britain. Since it was also impossible for Germany to conquer the Soviet Union, that means it was impossible for Germany to win the war.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jan 2020 20:34

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
30 Jan 2020 19:58

In short, it was impossible for Germany to win the war by focusing solely on Britain. Since it was also impossible for Germany to conquer the Soviet Union, that means it was impossible for Germany to win the war.
Yes, the war was folly to begin with. One huge gamble was won against France, and let's be honest... no one would have said it was possible if Germany sued for peace in 1939.

A victory of normal scale was not enough, either way. They needed a miracle once again, we are just discussing the options. In my opinion, the war against the SU carried zero chance of such a miracle. And they needed another after that, to defeat the British Empire. The war against the BE (which was ongoing anyway), or to do nothing, just exist as a defensive army-in-being could have made more sense.

Long story short, to win the war against the BE needed a miracle,
but to win the war against the BE by invading the SU needed a miracle on the square.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Jan 2020 21:22

Thanks for the clarifications. My interpretation of your positions was ungenerous; I hope you'll understand it was based on a partial view of your paradigm and the ungenerous interpretation is all too commonly held.
Peter89 wrote:After the fall of France, Germany had a window of opportunity to exploit this victory and crush the British Empire before the American entry to the war, and before the Wallies could mobilize their resources for war.
HistoryGeek has said what needs to be said re "Britain first."
Given that you seem to agree Germany could not have defeated Britain quickly, and that victory over the SU had at least a military chance, I don't see why invasion of the SU isn't the only shot.
To be clear, I agree that the invasion had no chance of success as executed. It needed to be conceived as at least a 2-year campaign with attendant longer-term logistical and economic underpinning. It probably needed stronger initial forces.

What is striking to me, however, is the extent to which folks fail to see Germany's massive military advantages over the SU at a fundamental level.
It was not for nothing that most of the world expected Germany to defeat the SU, even after Barbarossa had failed.
What Allied intelligence did not understand is the quicksand economic/logistical base on which Barbarossa unfolded.
That quicksand base is known to us now, but so few are even curious about might have happened - arguably should have happened - had Germany invaded with a remotely rational approach to conquering the world's largest army and country.
I also think that the Soviet Union could have been defeated by military means. But it would also mean that the war was 100% surely lost for Germany.
I'd challenge you articulate why, exactly, any victory over the SU would imply 100% certainty of defeat for Germany.
Setting aside the A-bomb for now, just look at what the Wallies were planning after the anticipated fall of the SU. It's set out in the Victory Plan of 1941. https://history.army.mil/html/books/093 ... _93-10.pdf
The U.S. military would have relied almost entirely on its bombing campaign to defeat Germany. Per the Victory Plan, invading Europe would have required raising army strength to around 25 million men, which it judged impossible due to attendant disruption of the economy from removing so many soldiers (unlike Germany, the U.S. couldn't substitute draftees with foreign slaves but like Germany is was deeply racist and therefore unwilling to import foreign labor on a scale of millions).

It's obvious to me that the Victory Plan would have failed. A Germany that has defeated the SU can build tens of thousands of fighters, has the fuel to train and fly the LW.

...such failure wouldn't have been admitted until 1944 at the earliest, meaning that if the Wallies decided to mount a massive invasion of Europe it would have taken until at least 1946 to build up the required land armies.

By that time, Germany would have revived the economies of occupied Europe using Russian and Middle Eastern oil. Agricultural production from Ukraine and occupied Russia would have exceeded Soviet levels due to German ability to provide fertilizer (repurposing Heer explosives production absent a large Eastern Front) and due to removing ridiculous communist agricultural practices (See Lysenkoism - a communist doctrine that rejected the biological determinism of breeding efficient grain strains, believing that grain could be "socialized" into productivity or something. It's too stupid to understand in detail but it had serious effects on Soviet agriculture at the time).

I don't have my books with me at the moment so I can't give page-cites, but IMO you're wrong about the costs of occupying the SU. As I said upthread, the historical ratios show that only ~500k soldiers would have been required to occupy 2/3 of the SU's population (let the rest stay in Asia). These needn't have been valuable soldiers. And the actual amount would have been far less, as partisan resistance would have collapsed with the defeat of the SU. If you're interested, I can dig up cites later.

With most of the SU in German hands, the Axis would have controlled territories with GDP greater than the Anglosphere by 1938 measures. By 1944 their economies would have been revived. Given this balance of power, and assuming defeat of the bomber offensive, I don't see how the Wallies ever return to Europe.

...unless they're willing to vaporize millions of Germans and foreign workers with scores of A-bombs during 1946. And tolerate the horrific German responses (e.g. Tabun).
When Hitler began to rave about the invasion of the SU, Georg Thomas drew up two different paths once again: if you put all our resources for one card, you better to be sure that the math will work. If the Soviet stockpiles, industry and whatnot could be taken intact and with minimal losses, only then could Barbarossa pay the dividends Hitler had hoped for. Even then, the population had to be starved out (Hunger Plan).
This is a false dichotomy. Hitler was obviously wrong to believe the SU would kindly surrender its plant and infrastructure intact but Thomas was wrong to argue that this was required. The Germans did extract a lot from the SU - fed its entire army, got millions of laborers, most of its manganese, a critical portion of iron ore. By 1943 Germany was poised to see a big uptick in production from western Donets and Dnipropetrovsk. They lost these areas to the SU just before this came to fruition (that's the reason for Hitler's counterproductive insistence that Manstein hold his line as opposed to flexible defense).
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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