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

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Peter89
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Peter89 » 13 Jan 2021 07:31

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 06:10
Futurist wrote:
13 Jan 2021 04:49
Do you think that had this decision gone differently Operation Barbarossa's outcome would have swung the other way?
Yes, it's basically what the OP outlines but without the need for additional divisions/production and I agree with their strategic thinking on this matter in broad strokes*. AGS can do Kiev on its own in August, if not sooner, enabling the Donets, Rostov and likely Crimea to be secured in 1941 too. Only way for the Soviets to prevent that is heavily reinforcing the Ukraine, but that's not going to be possible with Army Group Center able to do Taifun in August/September and thus threaten Moscow. With said economic areas secured and likely Moscow too, if Army Group North doesn't take Leningrad in late 1941, they will do so in early 1942 without the need for Operation Storfang (Originally, Manstein was going to do Nordlicht against Leningrad. With said city taken out, a join German-Finnish operation against the Murmansk Railway will occur too.

At this point, the USSR will be in a state of collapse and the rest of 1942 and into 1943 will just be a mop up. If they don't reach the Urals in 1943, they will do so by 1944. From there, as the OP has outlined in other threads, it's likely a stalemate vis-a-vis the Anglo-Americans occur and we get a Nazi-Liberal Democracy Cold War.

* Only thing I disagree with is the idea that no amount of changes Post-June 22nd could result in a German victory because in my reading and estimations based on such, it was certainly doable.
If the Germans reach the Urals (a bit far from the Pacific) in 1944, would it really be a stalemate?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 07:34

KDF33 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:18
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 06:59
If we're assuming 12th Army isn't pulled out and the plan remains a double envelopment, I don't see much change for Brody/Dubno. As far as what forces they would be bringing to the table:
Where was the pincer supposed to close?

3 mobile divisions seem to me like quite a limited force.
Roughly around Zhitomir, as outlined by the OP. To put it into perspective, however, outside of the Italian expeditionary corps 11th Army had no mobile divisions historically; they've went from just two mobile divisions to five. Even with the emphasis on the strong left IOTL, this means 12th Army has about ~50% of the mobile divisions.

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

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 07:36

Peter89 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:31
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 06:10
Futurist wrote:
13 Jan 2021 04:49
Do you think that had this decision gone differently Operation Barbarossa's outcome would have swung the other way?
Yes, it's basically what the OP outlines but without the need for additional divisions/production and I agree with their strategic thinking on this matter in broad strokes*. AGS can do Kiev on its own in August, if not sooner, enabling the Donets, Rostov and likely Crimea to be secured in 1941 too. Only way for the Soviets to prevent that is heavily reinforcing the Ukraine, but that's not going to be possible with Army Group Center able to do Taifun in August/September and thus threaten Moscow. With said economic areas secured and likely Moscow too, if Army Group North doesn't take Leningrad in late 1941, they will do so in early 1942 without the need for Operation Storfang (Originally, Manstein was going to do Nordlicht against Leningrad. With said city taken out, a join German-Finnish operation against the Murmansk Railway will occur too.

At this point, the USSR will be in a state of collapse and the rest of 1942 and into 1943 will just be a mop up. If they don't reach the Urals in 1943, they will do so by 1944. From there, as the OP has outlined in other threads, it's likely a stalemate vis-a-vis the Anglo-Americans occur and we get a Nazi-Liberal Democracy Cold War.

* Only thing I disagree with is the idea that no amount of changes Post-June 22nd could result in a German victory because in my reading and estimations based on such, it was certainly doable.
If the Germans reach the Urals (a bit far from the Pacific) in 1944, would it really be a stalemate?
Yes, because there is nothing beyond old men and boys, who have most likely starved to death beforehand due to a lack of food anyway, armed with sticks quite literally. The idea the Soviets could just resist further, regardless of material considerations or whether they even had bodies in the first place, is the mirror image of everything the Germans and Japanese deluded themselves with historically.

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

Post by KDF33 » 13 Jan 2021 07:54

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:34
Roughly around Zhitomir, as outlined by the OP. To put it into perspective, however, outside of the Italian expeditionary corps 11th Army had no mobile divisions historically; they've went from just two mobile divisions to five. Even with the emphasis on the strong left IOTL, this means 12th Army has about ~50% of the mobile divisions.
11th Army had about 180,000 men on June 22nd, the Romanians almost twice that. AFAIK, the latter weren't ready to attack before July 1st. Even reinforced with what amounts to 1 motorized corps, what makes you confident of their ability to form a viable pincer?

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

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 07:59

KDF33 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:54
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:34
Roughly around Zhitomir, as outlined by the OP. To put it into perspective, however, outside of the Italian expeditionary corps 11th Army had no mobile divisions historically; they've went from just two mobile divisions to five. Even with the emphasis on the strong left IOTL, this means 12th Army has about ~50% of the mobile divisions.
11th Army had about 180,000 men on June 22nd, the Romanians almost twice that. AFAIK, the latter weren't ready to attack before July 1st. Even reinforced with what amounts to 1 motorized corps, what makes you confident of their ability to form a viable pincer?
Well for one, it's not 11th Army; it would be 12th Army. The whole shuffling and cancelling of plans was a major issue in the staggered start of Barbarossa by AGS:
Army Group South's initial plan envisioned a double envelopment during Phase 1, employing First Panzer Group in the North and 12th Army coming out of Rumania. Hitler soon decided against this course of action, and besides in April he ordered 12th army to Yugoslavia and Greece. Eleventh Army took over duties in Rumania but these combined forces would not be ready for 22 June 1941, giving Barbarossa its staggered start in the south. Therefore von Rudenstedt would fight mainly a frontal war, punctuated by occasional penetrations and except for Kiev relatively small encirclements.
As for why they would do better, with what can the Soviets oppose them with? Moving forces from the Left weakens that front against the other pincer, while moving forward those forces held in the rear near the Dnieper further disorganizes them, strains Soviet logistics, and places them into combat firmly on German terms; closer to German logistics and airbases.

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

Post by KDF33 » 13 Jan 2021 08:08

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:34
Roughly around Zhitomir, as outlined by the OP. To put it into perspective, however, outside of the Italian expeditionary corps 11th Army had no mobile divisions historically; they've went from just two mobile divisions to five. Even with the emphasis on the strong left IOTL, this means 12th Army has about ~50% of the mobile divisions.
Well, it took 1PG until 9 July to reach Zhitomir. In this scenario, the northern prong is weaker than historically.

Compare with HG Mitte, where the two PG linked up on 27 June at Minsk.

I have a tough time seeing it happen, but admittedly I don't know too well what the Soviets could have thrown against the southern prong.

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

Post by KDF33 » 13 Jan 2021 08:27

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:59
Well for one, it's not 11th Army; it would be 12th Army. The whole shuffling and cancelling of plans was a major issue in the staggered start of Barbarossa by AGS
Well, if I'm not mistaken, essentially its the same forces, except reinforced with 1 motorized corps that was historically sent to 1PG. Or am I missing something?
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:59
As for why they would do better, with what can the Soviets oppose them with? Moving forces from the Left weakens that front against the other pincer, while moving forward those forces held in the rear near the Dnieper further disorganizes them, strains Soviet logistics, and places them into combat firmly on German terms; closer to German logistics and airbases.
They can oppose them with 12th and 9th Armies, which include 3 Mechanized Corps.

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

Post by ljadw » 13 Jan 2021 10:27

Peter89 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:31
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 06:10
Futurist wrote:
13 Jan 2021 04:49
Do you think that had this decision gone differently Operation Barbarossa's outcome would have swung the other way?
Yes, it's basically what the OP outlines but without the need for additional divisions/production and I agree with their strategic thinking on this matter in broad strokes*. AGS can do Kiev on its own in August, if not sooner, enabling the Donets, Rostov and likely Crimea to be secured in 1941 too. Only way for the Soviets to prevent that is heavily reinforcing the Ukraine, but that's not going to be possible with Army Group Center able to do Taifun in August/September and thus threaten Moscow. With said economic areas secured and likely Moscow too, if Army Group North doesn't take Leningrad in late 1941, they will do so in early 1942 without the need for Operation Storfang (Originally, Manstein was going to do Nordlicht against Leningrad. With said city taken out, a join German-Finnish operation against the Murmansk Railway will occur too.

At this point, the USSR will be in a state of collapse and the rest of 1942 and into 1943 will just be a mop up. If they don't reach the Urals in 1943, they will do so by 1944. From there, as the OP has outlined in other threads, it's likely a stalemate vis-a-vis the Anglo-Americans occur and we get a Nazi-Liberal Democracy Cold War.

* Only thing I disagree with is the idea that no amount of changes Post-June 22nd could result in a German victory because in my reading and estimations based on such, it was certainly doable.
If the Germans reach the Urals (a bit far from the Pacific) in 1944, would it really be a stalemate?
The result would be a lot of Hiroshima and Nagasakis in Germany .
And the importance of the Murmansk Railway is very much exaggerated .

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Jan 2021 14:08

KDF33 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:18
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 06:59
If we're assuming 12th Army isn't pulled out and the plan remains a double envelopment, I don't see much change for Brody/Dubno. As far as what forces they would be bringing to the table:
Where was the pincer supposed to close?

3 mobile divisions seem to me like quite a limited force.
Whether the Romanian pincer is called 12th, 11th, or 69th army doesn't matter much aside from the forces they command. Even if List was a better general than Schoebert, he wasn't that much better. 12th Army had only only a few more offensive-capable divisions in the Balkans. They should have been committed to Barbarossa but wouldn't have been decisive.

Same with a single mobile corps of 3 divisions. RKKA had strong reserves concentrated around Kiev (19th, 20th armies); they could have stopped a weak Romanian pincer if needed. The divisions forming that pincer would have been missed elsewhere. It weakens Western Front for the Battle of Smolensk and is probably better for Ostheer than OTL but, again, not decisive.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by per70 » 13 Jan 2021 18:58

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
12 Dec 2020 11:59
As you can see (if you squint), RKKA received only 126,000 replacements in June-July, far fewer than August's 627,000. As pre-war RKKA planning stressed the rapid provision of manpower to understrength border divisions (see, e.g., Askey), it makes no sense that RKKA received so few replacements in June-July. The 500k missing mobilized reservists must have been overrun by Ostheer during the border battles.
I'm a bit unsure about this conclusion - although I agree that it's reasonable to assume that the bulk of the missing reservists were lost at the start of the campaign. Some more info about the numbers can be found in Kavalerchik & Lopukhovksy's The Price of Victory Appendix B.

"From the beginning of the war until 1 August, 2 456 00 men joined the Red Army, of whom 126 000 were field replacements and 2 330 000 were in formations and units"

A footnote to the above quote explains further: "This should be read as 126 000 of them were sent as field replacements for fronts and 2 330 000 contributed to the creation of new formations and units"

So, the Red Army saw a very large influx of new troops in the first month, even though the field replacement numbers were low. Whether the low number was due to a deliberate choice or due to potential replacements being overrun (or a combination) is left unsaid.

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

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 21:36

KDF33 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 08:27
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:59
Well for one, it's not 11th Army; it would be 12th Army. The whole shuffling and cancelling of plans was a major issue in the staggered start of Barbarossa by AGS
Well, if I'm not mistaken, essentially its the same forces, except reinforced with 1 motorized corps that was historically sent to 1PG. Or am I missing something?
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 07:59
As for why they would do better, with what can the Soviets oppose them with? Moving forces from the Left weakens that front against the other pincer, while moving forward those forces held in the rear near the Dnieper further disorganizes them, strains Soviet logistics, and places them into combat firmly on German terms; closer to German logistics and airbases.
They can oppose them with 12th and 9th Armies, which include 3 Mechanized Corps.
I'll need to go through the OOBs to figure out for sure, but for motorized forces it's the addition of a Corps; I'll look at infantry divisions later on. To quote from the source material:
a. Army Group South (Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt).
1. Eleventh Army: 7 German and 14 Romanian infantry divisions in northeastern Romania.
2. Seventeenth Army: 7 infantry, 4 mountain and/or light infantry, and 2 security divisions west of Jaroslav.
3. Sixth Army, including First Panzer Group: 11 infantry, 1
security, 3 motorized infantry, and 5 armored divisions southeast of Lublin.
4. Army group reserves: 1 infantry and 2 mountain and/or light
infantry divisions.
The total strength of Army Group South was 5 armored, 3 motorized infantry, 26 infantry, 6 mountain and/or light infantry, and 3
security divisions, for a grand total of 43 German plus 14 Romanian
divisions. After the start of the invasion Army Group South was
reinforced by a gradually increasing number of Italian, Hungarian,
and Slovak units.
OTL, AGS had eight Panzer or Motorized Divisions but here would have 11 to start with. Once the Italians arrive, it becomes 13 Panzer or Motorized. To put this into comparison, here's Army Group Center:
b. Army Group Center (Field Marshal Fedor von Bock).
(1) Fourth Army, including Second Panzer Group: 5 armored,
4 motorized infantry, 18 infantry, 1 cavalry, and 2 security
divisions northeast and east of Warsaw.
(2) Ninth Army, including Third Panzer Group: 4 armored,
3 motorized infantry, 1 security, and 12 infantry divisions in
and south of the Suwalki area.
(3) Army group reserves: 1 infantry division.
The total strength of Army Group Center was 9 armored, 7 motorized infantry, 31 infantry, 1 cavalry, and 3 security divisions, for a
grand total of 51 divisions
They had 15 Panzer or Motorized Divisions, so AGS would be almost as strong as they were here. In terms of Soviet responses, moving 12th Army would significantly weaken their forces holding back 6th Army; checking 12th Army coming out of Romania just to have Rundstedt hit them in the rear with the 6th results in the same end result. If they move up the echelon forces near the Dnieper, it means fighting a battle on German terms, with worse logistics and air inferiority with poorly organized forces.

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

Post by per70 » 13 Jan 2021 23:14

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:36
I'll need to go through the OOBs to figure out for sure, but for motorized forces it's the addition of a Corps; I'll look at infantry divisions later on.
Some units that hadn't recovered/returned from the Balkans campaign by the start of Barbarossa.

2nd, 5th Panzer Division
60th Infantry Division (mot)
5th and 6th Gebirgs Division
46th, 73rd, 164th, 183rd and 294th Infantry Division
7th Flieger Division

Note that most of these did participate in Barbarossa, although not from the start.

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

Post by KDF33 » 13 Jan 2021 23:42

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:36
They had 15 Panzer or Motorized Divisions, so AGS would be almost as strong as they were here. In terms of Soviet responses, moving 12th Army would significantly weaken their forces holding back 6th Army; checking 12th Army coming out of Romania just to have Rundstedt hit them in the rear with the 6th results in the same end result. If they move up the echelon forces near the Dnieper, it means fighting a battle on German terms, with worse logistics and air inferiority with poorly organized forces.
I'm not sure that I understand. What is the divisional number of the 3 extra Panzer/Motorized Infantry Divisions we're talking about?

Besides, IMO the significant difference between HGM and HGS was the overall German-to-Soviet force ratio in their respective area of operations, namely:
  • Personnel: 1,307,780 Germans facing 671,165 Soviets (HGM) // 1,013,411 Germans facing 907,046 Soviets (HGS)
  • Divisions: 49 German facing 44 Soviet (HGM) // 38 German facing 58 Soviet (HGS)
  • Tanks: 2,241 German facing 2,189 Soviet (HGM) // 821 German facing 4,783 Soviet (HGS)
In the Center, the Germans held an absolutely crushing superiority. In the South, both forces were more on an equal footing, albeit Soviet deficiencies in readiness, C&C and logistics were comparable across the entire length of the front.

To achieve a similar force ratio, the Germans would have needed an extra 753,988 men, 16 divisions and 4,076 (!) tanks in Heeresgruppe Süd.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Jan 2021 04:29

KDF33 wrote:To achieve a similar force ratio, the Germans would have needed an extra 753,988 men, 16 divisions and 4,076 (!) tanks in Heeresgruppe Süd.
This is true but to encircle SW Front in Galicia HGS wouldn't have needed HGM-like force ratio because it wouldn't need HGM-like operational pace. Ostheer's initial disposition was overkill in the center because FHO initially thought that's where the strongest Soviet forces were (IIRC they somewhat corrected that impression around April but by then nobody was going to change the plan). HGM's pincers met only 5 days after kickoff after advancing ~300km. To meet around Shepetivka in the OP's pincer, AGS's spearheads need advance "only" ~200km. If they have half the pace of HGM (~30km/day), they meet in about a week. Ten days should be fine - as discussed below.

That's not far off the OTL pace of PzGr1:

Image

PzGr1's spearheads were in Ostrog on July 1, ~30km from Shepetivka.

In my ATL, the strong Romanian pincer has to be opposed by part of SW Front's forces or else it would move at HGM-like pace of ~60km/day. That would put it in Shepetivka in 3 days - plus a few days for bridging the Dniestr. Shifting forces to meet the southern pincer would accelerate the northern pincer's advance.

Even if it takes 10 days to close the trap (~20km/day advance), the units of SW Front lacked the mobility to make good an escape that wouldn't have been ordered until at least the southern pincer had broken out from the Dniestr. As discussed in Askey's Operation Barbarossa, vol. IIIB, Soviet divisions were far short of their (already poor) authorized transport assets on June 22. The forward divisions lacked 776,000 horses versus their TOE's and about half of authorized trucks. They were quasi-static divisions in practice.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 14 Jan 2021 05:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Jan 2021 04:58

per70 wrote:
13 Jan 2021 23:14
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:36
I'll need to go through the OOBs to figure out for sure, but for motorized forces it's the addition of a Corps; I'll look at infantry divisions later on.
Some units that hadn't recovered/returned from the Balkans campaign by the start of Barbarossa.

2nd, 5th Panzer Division
60th Infantry Division (mot)
5th and 6th Gebirgs Division
46th, 73rd, 164th, 183rd and 294th Infantry Division
7th Flieger Division

Note that most of these did participate in Barbarossa, although not from the start.
Had the Germans perceived a need for the strongest-possible initial contingent, it might have been possible to get at least some of these divisions to AGS by June 22. 2nd Panzer, for instance, began shipping from Greece on May 18. https://www.warhistoryonline.com/guest- ... -guns.html Shipping them to Thessaloniki or Alexandropouli instead of to Italy would have left them a month to cross Bulgaria and Romania by rail.

It's often said that their vehicles needed refurbishment. In my ATL there should be extra vehicles.
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