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 » 03 Feb 2020 12:33

Peter89 wrote:
03 Feb 2020 09:24
ljadw wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:56

If a successful Barbarossa resulted in the surrender of Britain , Germany would not need the raw materials of Turkey, neither those of the SU .
So Germany needed no additional raw materials at all, okay.

As I answered your other claims before, I have one question remained: how would a successful Barbarossa result the surrender of the BE?

Just how?

Churchill says that "oh fuck, the 6th army has reached Astrakha and the 18th Army has reached Arkhangelsk, so it's time for us to quit?

You keep claiming:
- the US entry into the war was the decisive factor
- the US and the BE cooperated well before Barbarossa, they were on a way of becoming allies
- the Germans anticipated the US entry to the war in 1942, and they were right

So why exactly would a successful Barbarossa result the collapese of the British resistance? Even if the A-A line is reached in October 1941, the Red Army destroyed with minimal casualties, the US entry to the war in 1942 will seal the fate of the war.

The logical conclusion here is that the BE will continue to fight until the US enters the war, regardless of the Soviet defeat.
I never said that a successful Barbarossa would result in the surrender of Britain .
The Germans started by eliminating all possibilities that would not result in the surrender of Britain .And than, they convinced themselves that what remained,would result in the surrender of Britain . But, to be certain they took no risks and prepared for 2 wars : Barbarossa and the war against UK + US . That's why Hitler ordered on June 20 to give immediately priority to the war with Britain (Vabanque P 43 ) ,additional reason was that post 20 June production for Barbarossa would not help Barbarossa,as it was planned as a short campaign with success in a few weeks and that the switch-over from Barbarossa to the war with Britain /US would demand time .
Other reason for Barbarossa was that it would liberate Japan from the spectre of a two front war and that (this was a false hope ) Japan would be that strong that US could not fight against Japan and Germany and would abandon Britain ( Hitler's War ,Magenheimer, P44)
About the oil from Iraq/Iran : what the RN used before the war is irrelevant :
1 the Italian DOW prevented the transport of this oil to Britain
2 it was more economical to import oil from the Americas, cheaper and it was saving time .
Before the war, Britain imported 1/3 of its oil from the ME,during the war : NOTHING.
Besides : during the war Britain neededless oil than before the war .

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Max Payload » 03 Feb 2020 12:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:20
No need to discuss German strategy, folks, everything happened exactly as it should have happened.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:39
Of the 7 divisions in Norway, 5 were offensive-capable divisions of the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th waves. That is what's excessive - all the Reich needed was not to lose Norway immediately if the Brits landed a few forces. To ensure that security, you don't need fully-capable divisions, you need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched.
Critiquing flawed decisions should be limited to what the decision maker(s) knew, or should have known, at the time, and the extent to which they tried to take into account what has been described as the ‘known unknowns’. The British knew perfectly well what their intentions were with regard to an invasion of Scandinavia. In hindsight so do we all. But OKW did not. A judgement call had to be made. What was the likelihood they would invade? Where would they land? What would their objectives be? What size of force would they deploy? What would it take to stop them? And what would be consequences to the German war effort if they succeeded.
Why would OKW assume the that only a ‘few forces’ would be landed, and that Germany would only “need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched”? Why would OKW assume that, if the British were going to attempt an invasion, they would only send a puny force purposely designed to be defeated?

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 03 Feb 2020 12:48

Peter89 wrote:
03 Feb 2020 09:09

ljadw wrote:
03 Feb 2020 08:35
Germany having more oil to fight against Britain would not mean that Britain would have less oil to fight against Germany.
Absolutely not, the Kirkuk fields produced 4m tons of oil per year already, with modern pipelines to Haifa and Tripoli where the terminals and ports were. The main buyer of that oil was the RN.

You can argue that - as long as the shipping lanes are open - the British could import oil from the Americas to cover her needs anyway, so taking away a relatively small portion of the British production is not a game changer move. I agree with that, but if it is true, nothing would have helped, not even conquering the SU.

[

The big question was : when would Germany and the US be at war ? The Germans were convinced that this would happen before 1942 . They were right.
[/quote]

After a DOW by the Germans lol. If I forecast it now that I will eat my lunch before 2pm and then I eat my lunch at 1pm, it is no wonder I am right.
[/quote]

That nothing would have helped is correct, but the only remaining policy (= unconditional surrender ) was out of the question .
Germany's DOW on December 11 1941 was caused by PH : it was impossible for Germany to remain neutral after PH, because PH would inevitably result in war between Germany and the USA ,whatever may argue certain posters from the USA : the USA were dominated by the WASPS from the Northeast,who were hostile to Germany .Besides the German DOW would limit the help the US could give to Britain .Without war between Germany and the US, LL to Britain and to the SU would increase .

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by ljadw » 03 Feb 2020 13:08

FJ are not crack : they can not hold again ground troops ( see Market Garden and Crete )

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 03 Feb 2020 13:16

ljadw wrote:
03 Feb 2020 13:08
FJ are not crack : they can not hold again ground troops ( see Market Garden and Crete )
If they are landed on hostile territory, yes.

Otherwise, they were indeed crack. Highly trained, battle-hardened, experienced troops with excellent morale, many units were suitable for specialist operations, like securing objects, taking airfields and whatnot.

Especially in mid-1941, the FJ units were jumping almost unarmed (only with a pistol and some hand grenades). I am talking about an airlift to the ME, which actually happened, but only in small scale, because the main effort was on the eastern border.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Feb 2020 13:20

Max Payload wrote:Critiquing flawed decisions should be limited to what the decision maker(s) knew, or should have known, at the time
I'm well aware of hindsight bias. I'm not employing it here.
My points are based on (1) the reasonably foreseeable size of a British expeditionary force in 1941 and (2) the size of the Heer in 1941.
Having contemplated a large-scale amphibious attack and ordered in-depth studies of it, Hitler/OKW/OKH were aware of the general scale that such an attack could have.
Why would OKW assume the that only a ‘few forces’ would be landed, and that Germany would only “need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched”?
Because the British Empire didn't have sufficient land forces to establish a permanent lodgement on the continent in 1941. Just suppose, for instance, that Britain takes the Cotentin Peninsula with an initial force of a 2-3 divisions and gradually builds up to 10. You don't need 40 divisions - even concededly weak ones - to stop the British getting much into France. Invite Italian forces into Northern France if perceived necessary. All Germany has to do is contain the lodgement during Barbarossa, then destroy it during the winter. Churchill's government probably wouldn't have survived such a catastrophe. It's the kind of high stakes analysis of the other side's appetite for risk at which Hitler excelled in earlier times.

Same thing in the Balkans, where the Italians + security divisions would be able to contain any British advance after a landing before it reached strategically-vital goals (Ploesti or Yugoslav bauxite mines).

Similarly Norway: The Germans can simply hold the heart of the country for a few months while crippling Russia, then overwhelm any forces remaining in Norway. Sure, you keep a couple good divisions around Narvik to prevent a cheap coup de main. Otherwise there's nothing between Oslo and Narvik that is strategically essential. France doesn't need 40 divisions anyway, so if you're nervous about losing coastal ports (which would interdict winter ore shipments), you can send more security divisions to replace good divisions sent east.

The point is that Hitler's goal was to retain sufficient forces to be able to deny any lodgement anywhere, which was strategically folly.
Strategy requires knowing what you can afford to lose to get what you need. Hitler demonstrated no such ability in the critical years when he needed it.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 03 Feb 2020 13:25

ljadw wrote:
03 Feb 2020 12:48

That nothing would have helped is correct, but the only remaining policy (= unconditional surrender ) was out of the question .
:thumbsup:
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Max Payload » 03 Feb 2020 16:05

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 13:20
Having contemplated a large-scale amphibious attack and ordered in-depth studies of it, Hitler/OKW/OKH were aware of the general scale that such an attack could have.
Do you have a source for that study? Because although, as you state, “... the British Empire didn't have sufficient land forces to establish a permanent lodgement on the continent in 1941”, are you sure that OKW fully aware of that? If not, could it trust Vichy France in the event of a successful landing? Would the British know if the Wehrmacht had lowered its guard in the West and be encouraged to invade? If Germany did face a two-front land war in the second half of 1941, would it encourage the Russians to resist for longer?
As regards Norway, with Swedish neutrality, Norway was, in practical strategic terms, a continental off-shore island. Did the study you referred to conclude that the general scale of a British attack would be unable to overcome a smaller German Norwegian garrison, because otherwise, even after a successful Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht might not have the resources to subsequently re-occupy Norway once it had been lost.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Feb 2020 16:48

Max Payload wrote:Do you have a source for that study?
In-depth study of Sealion.

Re the rest of your post, you raise a ton of questions that I could address if I had nothing else to do.
At the risk of coming across as ornery once again, I'll say that it is unfair for one side to raise myriad questions (what about X/Y/Z?), implying an answer adverse to my position, making little effort to argue for that adverse answer, yet rhetorically shifting the burden on me to address the issue. If you would like to argue that any British landing would prompt successful Vichy insurrection, I would be interested to hear it and please do so.
Max Payload wrote:Wehrmacht might not have the resources to subsequently re-occupy Norway once it had been lost.
This point I raised, so I'll address it.
For the Heer to be totally ejected from Norway would require a British advance from a northern/western port down the railways into Oslo. There is no way a landing force is going to go through the Skagerrak and up the Oslofjord in 1941.

That advance is a months-long process against even the weakest German opposition. A couple divisions would be sufficient to check it. Having contained the advance, recapturing the lost territory is not a matter of Weserubung II because Germany starts this time around with port/rail/airfield infrastructure.

But as I said in my post, the smart idea is probably to send, say, 8 bad divisions from France to Norway, freeing up 5 good ones for Barbarossa. That provides similar deterrence to OTL, so I don't think British attack is likely. If it happens, they lose badly.

Also forgot to add:
A strategically coherent Hitler would have had Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, and later Tirpitz in Norway during '41 instead of wasting them on raids. That alone would be powerful deterrent to Norway attack.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Feb 2020 17:00

Max Payload wrote:
03 Feb 2020 12:40
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:20
No need to discuss German strategy, folks, everything happened exactly as it should have happened.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:39
Of the 7 divisions in Norway, 5 were offensive-capable divisions of the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th waves. That is what's excessive - all the Reich needed was not to lose Norway immediately if the Brits landed a few forces. To ensure that security, you don't need fully-capable divisions, you need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched.
Critiquing flawed decisions should be limited to what the decision maker(s) knew, or should have known, at the time, and the extent to which they tried to take into account what has been described as the ‘known unknowns’. The British knew perfectly well what their intentions were with regard to an invasion of Scandinavia. In hindsight so do we all. But OKW did not. A judgement call had to be made. What was the likelihood they would invade? Where would they land? What would their objectives be? What size of force would they deploy? What would it take to stop them? And what would be consequences to the German war effort if they succeeded.
Why would OKW assume the that only a ‘few forces’ would be landed, and that Germany would only “need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched”? Why would OKW assume that, if the British were going to attempt an invasion, they would only send a puny force purposely designed to be defeated?
Let's see...has anyone actually looked at a map of Norway?

In Norway...
69. ID? Yep, 2. Welle Infanterie-Division, primarily with trained reservists, but also with a proportion of Great War veterans. How did it get to Norway? It was sent in April to Bergen to reinforce the last drive to eliminate Norwegian resistance along with 163. ID (q.v.). Contributed a regimental staff to the creation of 199. ID. (q.v.).
214. ID? A 3. Welle Landwehr division, almost have of it comprised of Great War veterans and young reservists with minimal training. Except for those rebalanced specifically for operations with the Ostheer, it was hardly what would be called a "offensive-capable division" and occupied southeastern Norway until February 1944 when it was reorganized and and reinforced by Schatten-Division Mielau and moved to Narva.
710. ID? Formed 2 May 1940 as a bodenständige Infanterie-Division of the 15. Welle for occupation duties in Norway, defending the Oslo region.
181. ID? 7. Welle occupation troops in Trondheim.
196. ID? 7. Welle occupation troops in Trondheim. Contributed Inf.-Regt. 345. to creation of 199. ID (q.v.).
199. ID? Created in November 1940 in Norway from bits and pieces of other divisions already in Norway as occupation troops. Defended Narvik and Tromso and the rear communications of Gebirgskorps “Norway”.
702. ID? Formed 16 April 1940 as a bodenständige Infanterie-Division of the 15. Welle for occupation duties in Norway, initially defending Trondheim, but elements sent to Narvik and Tromso to help defend the rear communications of Gebirgskorps “Norway”.

Starting in Norway, but really part of BARBAROSSA...
163. ID? Yep, one of the 13 7. Welle division created in the winter of 1939/1940 from new recruits and equipped at a lower standard than other divisions. Participated in initial operations in southern and central Norway, then went to Finland in July 1941. Contributed a regimental staff and one infantry battalion to the creation of 199. ID. (q.v.).
2. and 3. Gebirgs-Division of Gebirgskorps “Norway”.

In reality, it was five indifferent occupation divisions scattered over some 1,000 miles of Norwegian coastline, concentrated on defending Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Bodo. Another two divisions guarded Narvik and Tromso and the critical communications links to Gebirgskorps “Norway”.

The only way they would not be wasted is if they were not in Norway to begin with.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Feb 2020 17:19

Richard Anderson wrote:Let's see...has anyone actually looked at a map of Norway?
Yes it's right here: https://www.google.com/maps/@23.781062, ... a=!3m1!1e3
...according to the State Department.
Richard Anderson wrote:The only way they would not be wasted is if they were not in Norway to begin with.
The divisions were scattered and garrisoning strategic points, yes.
For that reason a slightly-greater number divisions from waves 5/6, 13/14 (say 8 divisions) could have done the job.
...leaving 32 divisions in France, easily sufficient to maintain the strategic position.

Imagine for a moment that something like the Dieppe raid is successful. Brits (well, Canadians) get to enjoy some wine, thumb their noses at the Reich, and somehow re-embark successfully. Hitler is humiliated.

But on the flipside there's another army in Barbarossa.

It's clear to me that the tradeoff is strategically beneficial.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 03 Feb 2020 18:06

Max Payload wrote:
03 Feb 2020 12:40
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:20
No need to discuss German strategy, folks, everything happened exactly as it should have happened.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 07:39
Of the 7 divisions in Norway, 5 were offensive-capable divisions of the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th waves. That is what's excessive - all the Reich needed was not to lose Norway immediately if the Brits landed a few forces. To ensure that security, you don't need fully-capable divisions, you need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched.
Critiquing flawed decisions should be limited to what the decision maker(s) knew, or should have known, at the time, and the extent to which they tried to take into account what has been described as the ‘known unknowns’. The British knew perfectly well what their intentions were with regard to an invasion of Scandinavia. In hindsight so do we all. But OKW did not. A judgement call had to be made. What was the likelihood they would invade? Where would they land? What would their objectives be? What size of force would they deploy? What would it take to stop them? And what would be consequences to the German war effort if they succeeded.
Why would OKW assume the that only a ‘few forces’ would be landed, and that Germany would only “need holding forces until the Heer overwhelms whatever Churchill has dispatched”? Why would OKW assume that, if the British were going to attempt an invasion, they would only send a puny force purposely designed to be defeated?
Exactly. There is the flaw in this type of alternative timelines. It is all hindsight. One needs to limit oneself to the information that was known or could realistically have been known.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 03 Feb 2020 18:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 16:48
Max Payload wrote:Do you have a source for that study?
In-depth study of Sealion.

Re the rest of your post, you raise a ton of questions that I could address if I had nothing else to do.
At the risk of coming across as ornery once again, I'll say that it is unfair for one side to raise myriad questions (what about X/Y/Z?), implying an answer adverse to my position, making little effort to argue for that adverse answer, yet rhetorically shifting the burden on me to address the issue. If you would like to argue that any British landing would prompt successful Vichy insurrection, I would be interested to hear it and please do so.
Max Payload wrote:Wehrmacht might not have the resources to subsequently re-occupy Norway once it had been lost.
This point I raised, so I'll address it.
For the Heer to be totally ejected from Norway would require a British advance from a northern/western port down the railways into Oslo. There is no way a landing force is going to go through the Skagerrak and up the Oslofjord in 1941.

That advance is a months-long process against even the weakest German opposition. A couple divisions would be sufficient to check it. Having contained the advance, recapturing the lost territory is not a matter of Weserubung II because Germany starts this time around with port/rail/airfield infrastructure.

But as I said in my post, the smart idea is probably to send, say, 8 bad divisions from France to Norway, freeing up 5 good ones for Barbarossa. That provides similar deterrence to OTL, so I don't think British attack is likely. If it happens, they lose badly.

Also forgot to add:
A strategically coherent Hitler would have had Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, and later Tirpitz in Norway during '41 instead of wasting them on raids. That alone would be powerful deterrent to Norway attack.
You are secondguessing with far too much hindsight and disregarding how the situation was looked at at the time. There was not the awareness that one needed to scratch everything together taking huge risks in the west. There is zero probability that one would realistically have decided to do what you propose based on the information available at the time..

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 03 Feb 2020 18:13

ljadw wrote:
03 Feb 2020 13:08
FJ are not crack : they can not hold again ground troops ( see Market Garden and Crete )
They are elite and it is never the intent that they should hold out for a very long time. You do not understand the role of airborne troops.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Yuri » 03 Feb 2020 18:30

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Feb 2020 16:48
This point I raised, so I'll address it.
For the Heer to be totally ejected from Norway would require a British advance from a northern/western port down the railways into Oslo. There is no way a landing force is going to go through the Skagerrak and up the Oslofjord in 1941.

That advance is a months-long process against even the weakest German opposition. A couple divisions would be sufficient to check it. Having contained the advance, recapturing the lost territory is not a matter of Weserubung II because Germany starts this time around with port/rail/airfield infrastructure.

But as I said in my post, the smart idea is probably to send, say, 8 bad divisions from France to Norway, freeing up 5 good ones for Barbarossa. That provides similar deterrence to OTL, so I don't think British attack is likely. If it happens, they lose badly.

Also forgot to add:
A strategically coherent Hitler would have had Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, and later Tirpitz in Norway during '41 instead of wasting them on raids. That alone would be powerful deterrent to Norway attack.
And what is more profitable? a couple of divisions in combat or seven divisions not participating in combat?
I can assume-the second is more profitable. Seventy tons of ammunition a day for each active division. In addition, at least one more division is required to compensate for the losses of active divisions and for the reserve in their rear.
Let's say Hitler heard your advice and sent 4-5 divisions from Norway, which is less than 100,000 men. Losses in the East are 250,000 people a month (not counting the sick). Thus, in 10-15 days, Hitler will ask you for another 5 divisions. Where will you get them? From Norway the remaining 3 divisions? But that means giving Norway to the British. After seven days in the East, you will lose the last 3 "Norwegian" divisions. And what do you mean? And the result is the following. 21 days after the first "Norwegian" division arrives in the East, Hitler will have neither these seven Norwegian divisions nor Norway itself. In November 1943, the 25th Panzer division arrived in the East from Norway via France. On November 7, at Fastov (near Kiev), this "Norwegian" division was welcomed by Colonel Arkhipov's 63rd tank brigade. And two days later, there was very little left of the" Norwegian " division. You can read about it in Gudarian.
Now about the inactive divisions in the Balkans. 300,000 soldiers of citizens of the 3rd Reich in "inactive" divisions in the Balkans provided an influx to the Wehrmacht from the Balkans of more than 500,000 Germans (not citizens of the 3rd Reich) in active divisions in the East.
And these same 300,000 vacationing German citizens of the 3rd Reich provided an influx to the Wehrmacht from the Balkans of non-Germans, who in the Wehrmacht were in the Auslander category. In the Luftwaffe alone, 100,000 Auslanders were recruited from the Balkans every six months.
A total of 300,000 inactive citizens of the 3rd Reich provided an influx of more than 1,000,000 manpower to the Wehrmacht. At the same time, their presence provided a lot of unpleasant "little things" for the British forces in the Mediterranean.
Now about inactive divisions in France. In France, inactive divisions are a pool filled with limited fit for military service and recruits. Then, from the inactive pool, trained recruits were sent to the active front either alone or as part of entire divisions.

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