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

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

Post by ljadw » 17 Jun 2021 11:57

One million people died in the non occupied parts of the SU , mostly in Leningrad .That is less than 1 % of the population, Leningrad deaths included .
Thus, the death of a small number of people is no proof that the SU was not well-fed .

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

Post by KDF33 » 19 Jun 2021 19:03

ljadw wrote:
17 Jun 2021 11:57
One million people died in the non occupied parts of the SU , mostly in Leningrad .That is less than 1 % of the population, Leningrad deaths included .
Source?

The Russian Academy of Sciences gives a range for famine and disease deaths in the unoccupied territories of 2.5 to 3.2 million.

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

Post by PunctuationHorror » 19 Jun 2021 21:02

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Jun 2021 05:29
I last left off the main ATL narrative at the end August here.

Capitalizing on early destruction of SW Front and better rail logistics, Ostheer finished August by executing Vyazma-Bryansk and taking the western Donbas:

Image

AGN's progress was in line with OTL but, at the end of August, is facing far weaker opposition than OTL due to RKKA having lost ~1.5mil more men than OTL so far.

I also introduced a spreadsheet to track certain quantitative/qualitative factors:
  • Earlier destruction of Soviet forces implies lower casualties for Ostheer in subsequent stages
  • Soviets might ameliorate this by stripping Siberia earlier
  • Soviets probably forced to deploy forces with even worse training than OTL, due to greater losses. These early-deployed forces have lower casualty-infliction rates.
  • Soviets begin to run out of weapons as the campaign proceeds.
The spreadsheet, as shared, contains very conservative estimates of the quantitative impacts of these factors on German casualties. Nonetheless, by early September, German casualties are already ~100k lower than OTL.

With that setup, here's the overall scheme for ATL September 1941:
[...]
I agree with your stage III ATL. This is feasible. Maybe stage IV will succeed too.

However, critical problems as seen in OTL are not adressed:

- German lines get overstretched and logistics and capacities are pushed to the brim or beyond.
- Wear and tear and fatigue of men and material.
- The Red Army still exists and will continue to be nasty. This is not France.
- There will be winter with its consequences. It is unlikly that the winter will end miraculously only because Moscow or any other location has been reached. Neither will Rasputitsa in spring and autumn disappear.
- Infrastructure does not get better on the way east.

Therefore, I strongly disagree with your proposed fall/winter campaign. Because of the distances, supply, weather/climate and soviet opposition.
Distance Brest-Litowsk - Moskow 1000km. Moskow - Nischni Novgorod 500km as the eagle flies.
Brest-Litowsk - Charkiw 1000km, Chariw - Volgograd 500 km. No way they will make the 500km in winter. When (or rather if) they reach their destinations, they will be even more worn out than they were when they reached Moscow.

Short: The same will happen as in OTL battle of Moscow and Winter battle '41. Red Army attacks the overstreched, worn down german forces and they have to retreat. Massive losses of men and material, that are missing in the next campaign. New production gets wasted as replacement instead of augmentation of forces.

Solution:
Why not stop after stage III, dig in, rest, repair, refit, and build logistics for the rest of '41?.

Stage IV will be the offensive of 1942, starting in May. New offensive, new encirclements. New Cannae-style battles. Panzers and Mot do what they are made for. Take Moscow (~200km from starting point) and then advance further. In summer, 500 kilometers distance from Moscow to Nischni Novgorod and from Charkiv to Stalingrad should be manageable. Try to reach Jaroslavl, Nischni-Novgorod, Kasan, Saratov. Establish Volga as new frontline. Here again: dig in, rest, repair, refit and build logistics to support the new frontline.

Campaign of 1943 will solidify Volga frontline and then head for Georgia, Baku (oil oil oil :lol: ), Astrachan and Archangelsk.

1944 try to reach Ural Mountains (Perm, Ufa, Orenburg, Orsk, Caspian Sea). By then, Red Army should be broken beyond repair. Redeployment of troops to the Western theater (if there is any).

Campaign of 1945 will go beyond the Ural Mountains (ugly terrain for warfare) and head for Omsk.

By 1946 the way to Novosibirsk, Tashkent and Alma-Ata should be open. That should finish them off.

Key to success is to keep the army (and Panzers especially) in supply. Advance and encircle. Not more than 300km advancement per campaign. Not more than 600km advancement in a year. Avoid overstretching at all costs. Better to go back to starting points after a encirclement than risk overstretching.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 Jun 2021 23:10

KDF33 wrote:
19 Jun 2021 19:03
ljadw wrote:
17 Jun 2021 11:57
One million people died in the non occupied parts of the SU , mostly in Leningrad .That is less than 1 % of the population, Leningrad deaths included .
Source?

The Russian Academy of Sciences gives a range for famine and disease deaths in the unoccupied territories of 2.5 to 3.2 million.
...and those stats probably don't include, under famine, deaths that Hunger and War revealed to be starvation-caused (but mostly recorded as, e.g., tuberculosis).

As so often, the entire argument is ridiculous: "only a few hundred thousand died of starvation besides in Leningrad" would not indicate a secure food supply even were it true. Modern countries do not have hundreds of thousands of starvation deaths unless something is seriously wrong. Virtually no Germans/Japanese/British/Americans died of starvation, except perhaps in the last days of chaos and collapse.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 Jun 2021 04:48

PunctuationHorror wrote:- German lines get overstretched and logistics and capacities are pushed to the brim or beyond.
:welcome:

And thanks for the comments.

On German logistics I've said quite a bit elsewhere, such as here. TMP bookmark: Barbarossa rail logistics [I use these notes to find old work, rather than scrolling through pages as I just did].

In short, I view the disastrous German rail logistics as stemming directly from the short-war plan. Had Germany planned a for a longer campaign, rail logistics would have been better.
PunctuationHorror wrote:- Wear and tear and fatigue of men and material.
Three responses:
  • 1. The issue is always X (here wear and tear, fatigue) relative to opposed strength. If the RKKA is weaker, Ostheer can be strong enough whatever its wear and tear. Just for example, if Ostheer faces the Portugese Army in Dec. '41 rather than RKKA, wear and tear won't stop it from winning.
  • 2. Increased production sustained throughout '41 (instead of cut as historically) means more replacement vehicles and spare parts.
  • 3. Wear/fatigue are barely related to strategic distance covered, rather to tactical intensity over a given time. Here, although Ostheer goes farther, it fights less intensively: RKKA units are surrounded/captured rather than bludgeoned tactically.
PunctuationHorror wrote:- The Red Army still exists and will continue to be nasty. This is not France.
Yep. But RKKA is weaker. Fighting will still be nasty but as I've shown elsewhere, RKKA was surrendering tactically at abnormal rates after Taifun, when it looked like Moscow would fall. In this ATL, that dynamic continues and probably escalates.
PunctuationHorror wrote:The same will happen as in OTL battle of Moscow and Winter battle '41
Again, RKKA is weaker and Ostheer stronger that winter. Winter as a factor is over-rated IMO. It hurt RKKA nearly as much as Ostheer.

Germany demonstrated ability to operate in winter many times during the war (Bulge, Kharkov '43).

Maybe they sit tight in the worst of December though, when the temps exceed their machine's tolerances.
PunctuationHorror wrote:Campaign of 1945 will go beyond the Ural Mountains (ugly terrain for warfare) and head for Omsk.
The rest of your proposals are feasible but not optimal, IMO. Germany's best served by knocking out Russia ASAP; the logistical problems are not as daunting as typically portrayed.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 20 Jun 2021 08:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Jun 2021 23:10
KDF33 wrote:
19 Jun 2021 19:03
ljadw wrote:
17 Jun 2021 11:57
One million people died in the non occupied parts of the SU , mostly in Leningrad .That is less than 1 % of the population, Leningrad deaths included .
Source?

The Russian Academy of Sciences gives a range for famine and disease deaths in the unoccupied territories of 2.5 to 3.2 million.
...and those stats probably don't include, under famine, deaths that Hunger and War revealed to be starvation-caused (but mostly recorded as, e.g., tuberculosis).

As so often, the entire argument is ridiculous: "only a few hundred thousand died of starvation besides in Leningrad" would not indicate a secure food supply even were it true. Modern countries do not have hundreds of thousands of starvation deaths unless something is seriously wrong. Virtually no Germans/Japanese/British/Americans died of starvation, except perhaps in the last days of chaos and collapse.
I did not say : ''only '' : YOU are saying only .
And, how do you know that these stats don't include ,under famine, deaths caused by starvation ?
And how do you know that TB is starvation-caused ?
Countless people ,inside and outside the USSR, died before the war from TB,which was not starvation-caused .
And, one can argue that it would be logical that less people died during the war from starvation in the USSR than before the war :simplified ,it was so before the war that there was rationing for everyone,and that people survived because of the private agriculture market .At the start of the war,the regime said : we can't feed you,thus take care of yourselves . And most people were excluded from rationing and survived because they produced their own food : good old capitalism .Without this, millions would have died .
And : mostly people do not die from starvation because there is something seriously wrong,but because of the weather .

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

Post by ljadw » 20 Jun 2021 08:59

KDF33 wrote:
19 Jun 2021 19:03
ljadw wrote:
17 Jun 2021 11:57
One million people died in the non occupied parts of the SU , mostly in Leningrad .That is less than 1 % of the population, Leningrad deaths included .
Source?

The Russian Academy of Sciences gives a range for famine and disease deaths in the unoccupied territories of 2.5 to 3.2 million.
Source :
The famines of WWII by Cormac O Grada 2 September 2019 .
And specifically :
'' At least another million died in the non-occupied SU mostly in blockaded Leningrad.''
And :
Table 1 :
SU : 7/9 million
Under Soviet control :1/2 million .

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

Post by historygeek2021 » 08 Jul 2021 20:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 May 2021 22:16


If you look at my early August front line in the "Stage 3" map, AGN's front is as far east as anyone else's. AGN didn't really need any help until OTL latter August when its advance started to stall around the Luga line.
I don't think that's correct. In the OTL, AGN reached the Luga River on July 10 and stalled there for another month and faced severe difficulties. The 8th Panzer Division was encircled by the Soviet 11th Army from 14-18 July, which caused Hitler to issue a halt order on July 18, which lasted for 3 weeks, after which he ordered Panzer Group 3 to come to AGN's assistance.

The Soviet 11th Army was one of the original Soviet Northwest Front armies on June 22, 1941. It was not a reserve army sent to reinforce Leningrad. The Soviets were able to stop AGN with their original pre-Barbarossa forces.

On AGC's right flank, AGS's "Gornostaipol option" clears 2nd Army's opposition, enabling it move up to something like its OTL October line. Combined with the AGS mechanized units that went the Gornostaipol route, it can do the Bryansk portion of Taifun in August as well.

This sequence of moves achieves simultaneous clearing of AGC's flank and reinforcement of AGC for the Moscow drive. So unlike OTL, the Gornostaipol option will work with Halder's preferred approach rather than against it.
In the OTL, Guderian had an opportunity to close the Smolensk pocket on July 20, but instead took Yelnya. Likewise, Panzer Group 3 had to abandon Velikiye Luki on July 19. So, even with Soviet 16th and 19th armies still in Kiev in this ATL, it seems the earliest for the Smolensk pocket to be liquidated in this ATL is July 25 (versus an OTL date of August 6). Given the concentration of Soviet forces in the Ukraine, that also seems to be a reasonable date to conclude the liquidation of the Kiev pocket in your ATL:
Marcks ATL Phase 1.png
Regarding casualties, I can see AGC suffering fewer casualties up to this point due to the absence of the 16th and 19th armies from their sector in this OTL, but AGN should still have the same casualties as the OTL and AGS should have more casualties than the OTL because it is engaging the 16th and 19th armies in this ATL.

After the encirclements of Kiev and Smolensk in your ATL, the OstHeer is facing the following situation from the Red Army:
Marcks ATL Phase 2.png
Stalin is facing a manpower shortage as 11 of the reserve armies he needs to fill out the front line won't be available until the end of August. The question is where are the 7 July reserve armies placed in this ATL? In all likelihood Stalin divides them evenly (4/3) between Smolensk and Kiev, ordering them to attack as in the OTL to relieve the encirclements. Given how far AGC and AGS have advanced by this point, and facing 7 Soviet reserve armies, there is likely an operational pause to rehabilitate the panzer divisions, just as there was in the OTL. There is then likely a flank clearing operation between AGC and AGS. Gomel fell on August 17 in the OTL. Given the weaker state of the Soviet forces in this ATL, we can say it falls a week earlier, uniting the flanks of AGC and AGS.

Hitler still likely orders Panzer Group 3 north to help AGN. Thus, the advance on Leningrad and flank clearing operations around Velikiye Luki occur according to roughly the same timetable as the OTL on August 8. Panzer Group 2 can advance from the Gomel vicinity toward Bryansk. AGS will be facing relatively weak resistance and probably take Kursk and Kharkov by the end of August.

This all points to a late August/early September Typhoon, which leads to the fall of Moscow by early October. The Germans can probably also take Leningrad and hold Rostov, giving them a slightly further east line than they held in the OTL going into winter. German casualties in intense fighting for Moscow likely make up for any lesser casualties they had in the early portions of the campaign, with the result that casualties for 1941 are likely the same as the OTL. The Red Army likely suffers even higher casualties than the OTL, but Stalin orders them to attack anyway during the winter. The Germans are likely able to hold Leningrad/Moscow/Rostov in this ATL, since they have from early October to prepare a defense and the Red Army is weaker than the OTL.

Since the OstHeer has only performed marginally better than the OTL (not taking Leningrad until September and Moscow until October), the Finns are likely hesitant to risk war with the USA and stop where they did in the OTL, leaving Murmansk open for lend-lease. Likewise, Japan decides on the Southern Option and stays at peace with the USSR as in the OTL.

In the end, this puts the OstHeer in a better position than it was in Spring 1942, but the Red Army will still be intact, perhaps a few million weaker than the OTL, but still capable of waging war. 1942 will see twin advances toward Gorki and Stalingrad, with Hitler likely diluting his forces by ordering a third prong to attack into the Caucasus. The Germans likely take Gorki and Stalingrad during the year and maybe advance as far as Kuibyshev, but it's doubtful that this truly knocks Stalin out of the war. Maybe the parties arrange a truce, but Germany will still need to leave a considerable force on the eastern front to guard against a Soviet sneak attack. But by the end of 1942 the tide has already turned in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and Hitler will have to dilute his forces to defend everywhere, which is impossible, so ultimately the ATL ends up in the same place as the OTL.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 02:33

historygeek2021 wrote:There is then likely a flank clearing operation between AGC and AGS. Gomel fell on August 17 in the OTL. Given the weaker state of the Soviet forces in this ATL, we can say it falls a week earlier, uniting the flanks of AGC and AGS.
You're analogizing Gomel's fall to OTL timeline by an unspecified heuristic; this doesn't give full credit to ATL conditions. Holding up the AGC-AGS flank were (1) 5th Army's long stand south of Pripyat Marshes and deep into AGS's rear and (2) the strong forces on AGC's right flank. It is important to see that 1 and 2 were connected.

Re (1), here's an OKH map from July 30th:

Image

The map is awkwardly spliced in my file but you can see Soviet 5th Army's lines extending to modern-day Bilokorovychi, 110mi west of the Dniepr. After SWF's majority destruction in Galicia, and with AGS possessing at least 10 more mech divs, force ratios in Ukraine simply cannot allow 5th Army's strong stand. By mid-July, AGS reaches reaches the Dniepr via the green arrow below:

Image

Re (2) - AGC is facing 2 fewer Soviet armies and the green-arrow advance threatens the rear of whatever weak forces remain on AGC's right flank.

Soviet 5th Army's stand is so fundamental to early Barbarossa that Hitler's first Kiev directive mentioned destroying it as the main goal.
historygeek2021 wrote:In the OTL, Guderian had an opportunity to close the Smolensk pocket on July 20, but instead took Yelnya. Likewise, Panzer Group 3 had to abandon Velikiye Luki on July 19. So, even with Soviet 16th and 19th armies still in Kiev in this ATL, it seems the earliest for the Smolensk pocket to be liquidated in this ATL is July 25
Again an analogy to OTL conditions is missing some/most of the credit for ATL conditions. In the initial stages of the Smolensk lunge, for example, a strong counterattack by 21st Army's MC delayed the mechanized units and, per Bock, prevented him from forming them into a "fist". In all likelihood it's feasible to encircle and liquidate Smolensk even earlier than I've specified, given better progress immediately after Minsk.

I'm not giving all cites right now because the details of this or that battle aren't as important, IMO, as the fundamental dynamic that AGC faces weaker opposition if SWF is destroyed. If we want to dig deeper into those details, we can.
historygeek2021 wrote:Kiev pocket in your ATL
Note I sketch two pockets: one in Right Bank Ukraine and one around Kiev. The latter probably closes later, your date seems fine. This is partially based on my insight that infantry alone did most of the pocket-making in the Kiev battle. The "green arrow" forces include 4-6 mechanized divisions thrusting into the rear of AGC's right-flank opponents; some of them can help with Kiev as well.
historygeek2021 wrote:operational pause to rehabilitate the panzer divisions, just as there was in the OTL.
Yes. Note I specified by stages by approximate months. On AGC's axis it's Minsk, Smolensk, Taifun by the end of August. If Smolensk pocket liquidated in late July, then 2-3 weeks rest, Taifun steps off in mid-August. Then Moscow taken by mid-October. Plenty of time to adjust schedules; again I want to do an analysis more focused on fundamentals than exact dates.
historygeek2021 wrote:AGN reached the Luga River on July 10 and stalled there for another month and faced severe difficulties. The 8th Panzer Division was encircled by the Soviet 11th Army from 14-18 July, which caused Hitler to issue a halt order on July 18, which lasted for 3 weeks, after which he ordered Panzer Group 3 to come to AGN's assistance.
I don't consider the AGN stalled by the Red Army until August or so; prior to that it's logistics and the walking speed of the foot divisions. Anyway, who stalled the advance isn't relevant because in my ATL the Germans don't have a risible strategic concept and therefore aren't sticking their necks out on the assumption that the Soviets can't create reserves. (Hitler was continually pressing Leeb to rein in 4PzGr and wait for the infantry; Manstein wasn't listening and got himself embarrassed at Soltsy).

In August-September, when AGN was ready to lunge forward on a decent logistical base with its all its units, Stavka sent several new armies (and divisions). That reinforcement is impossible ATL.

In any event, going back to fundamentals, Ostheer has 10 more mechanized divisions than OTL so if we think AGN needs another panzer corps that can be provided without ruining the other sketched offensives. So on my sketch of September:

Image

...maybe the mech divs (43 in total) are distributed as follows, from north to south:

PzGr 4: 9 divs
PG2: 9 divs
PG3: 9 Divs
PG1: 8 divs
PG5: 8 divs

...or however you like.
historygeek2021 wrote:German casualties in intense fighting for Moscow likely make up for any lesser casualties they had in the early portions of the campaign
Can't imagine why, given that RKKA is ~30% weaker during most of the campaign. For this to be true would assume a storming of the city and extended Stalingrad-style fighting there.

We know that's not what Hitler wanted: Moscow would be surrounded and starved-out, just like Leningrad. If anything, Moscow would be Ostheer's blood-cheapest kessel battle.
historygeek2021 wrote:the OstHeer has only performed marginally better than the OTL (not taking Leningrad until September and Moscow until October),
The additional AGS conquests (nearly everything west of Don by October) are at least as important as L'grad and Moscow's immediate environs.
historygeek2021 wrote:from early October to prepare a defense and the Red Army is weaker than the OTL.
There's no hard stop at Moscow and L'Grad. AGC pushes on to the Volga up to Gorkiy; AGN to Lake Onega and the Volga. There's still a Soviet counterattack but, given ATL force ratios, it's a bloodbath for RKKA and probably results in encircled attacking forces.

Image

AGS conducts the main winter offensive into the Caucasus and Stalingrad - from, say, January after ~4 months to repair rail infrastructure to/over the Don.
historygeek2021 wrote:the Finns are likely hesitant to risk war with the USA and stop where they did in the OTL, leaving Murmansk open for lend-lease. Likewise, Japan decides on the Southern Option and stays at peace with the USSR as in the OTL.
The moment of truth is November-December '41; Murmansk isn't used until then anyway (Archangelsk still ice-free). L'grad's fall and AGN advances free the Finnish army on all fronts south of Lake Onega. OTL they deceived Hitler about actually trying to take Belomorsk; here failure to do so would be obvious defiance.

Finns are unlikely openly to defy Germany rather than America: Germany controlled its food supply and other trade; America is far and in this ATL is unlikely to be a factor for years. As I've discussed elsewhere, Finland initially publicly refused American calls to stop their armies, only acceding when the Moscow offensive stalled.

Even IF Finland flatly states they won't cut the railroad, they have no grounds to bar Germany using Russian territory to move some of AGN's unemployed divisions north of Onega and take Belomorsk.

Japan goes south as in OTL in this ATL. The issue of Vladivostok arises again later, as it did OTL. But:
historygeek2021 wrote: Spring 1942
I'm going to decline reaching latter stages for now.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 09 Jul 2021 04:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 09 Jul 2021 04:19

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Jul 2021 02:33

In any event, going back to fundamentals, Ostheer has 10 more mechanized divisions than OTL
I thought it was 5 more panzer divisions, not 10. Earlier in this thread you wrote:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 May 2021 08:37
History Learner wrote:instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.
As I've posted upthread, the armaments cost of a panzer division was ~RM 50mil, so the 5 new divisions I propose would cost ~RM 250mil - double that to account for non-armament equipment to be safe. In 1941, Germany spent ~71bn on the war.

Image
(Harrison citing Klein - we can debate about this figure 10% here or there but it doesn't influence the broad point).

The ~85k recruits that would man the divisions are not quite 2% of the >5mil that Germany would draft after May 31, 1941.

In that light, I'm always perplexed by the incredulity with which the concept of "5 more panzer divisions" is received. There are many stories about how Germany achieved its later higher production and higher soldier count; foreign labor and the laxness with which Germany pursued it after France's defeat is sufficient easily to allow 5x the increment proposed here.
That 5 versus 10 makes a big difference for this ATL, so let's clear that up first.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 04:21

historygeek2021 wrote:I thought it was 5 more panzer divisions, not 10. Earlier in this thread you wrote:
From the OP:
The Heer has 5 additional panzer divisions and motorizes 5 standard infantry divisions.
...that's why I said "mechanized" instead of "panzer" divisions.

The additional cost for the mech divisions is basically trucks which, as we've discussed, can come from tightening the screws on occupied countries and/or domestic economy. Or Germany can make more trucks. As I've also said, this is a minimal-additional-production timeline; IMO the feasible far exceeds this.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 04:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:In August-September, when AGN was ready to lunge forward on a decent logistical base with its all its units, Stavka sent several new armies (and divisions). That reinforcement is impossible ATL.
@historygeek2021

Was going to return to Glantz's Leningrad for the figures but it's sufficiently clear on your map: 6 armies reinforced AGN's sector in August-September (4, 42, 48, 52, 54, 55). Plus 29th Army fighting AGN's right flank from July.

ATL AGN faces at best half these reinforcements, can drive directly on Leningrad in August/September rather than deal with the large Soviet offensives south of Lake Ilmen that pulled away most of its armor and pinned its infantry.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 04:46

TheMarcksPlan wrote:In the initial stages of the Smolensk lunge, for example, a strong counterattack by 21st Army's MC delayed the mechanized units and, per Bock, prevented him from forming them into a "fist"
Here I'm referring to the Lepel counterstroke by 5th and 7th MC.

5th MC was in Ukraine on June 22, under Stavka control:

Image

It's almost certainly going to stay in Ukraine ATL (for as long as it survives). It would likely counterattack ATL 5PzGr's Romanian pincer and, just as in OTL, be largely destroyed. That will delay 5PzGr but, as in OTL, only for a few day.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 09 Jul 2021 04:54

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Jul 2021 04:21
historygeek2021 wrote:I thought it was 5 more panzer divisions, not 10. Earlier in this thread you wrote:
From the OP:
The Heer has 5 additional panzer divisions and motorizes 5 standard infantry divisions.
...that's why I said "mechanized" instead of "panzer" divisions.

The additional cost for the mech divisions is basically trucks which, as we've discussed, can come from tightening the screws on occupied countries and/or domestic economy. Or Germany can make more trucks. As I've also said, this is a minimal-additional-production timeline; IMO the feasible far exceeds this.
I see, thanks. 10 more mobile divisions as opposed to only 5 would make the OstHeer a lot stronger than I had contemplated in my comment above. That would be enough not only for another panzer group, but 2 or 3 or even 4 of those divisions could be sent to strengthen the other panzer groups. Panzer Group 4 was in the most dire need of strengthening. Most of my objections to your ATL are based on the weakness of AGN. With 4 more mobile divisions, AGN is likely able to hold its own and doesn't need Panzer Group 3 to come to its assistance. This speeds up the timeframe for an attack on Moscow considerably.

I suppose the other big question is whether the Soviet Union can mobilize new armies faster in this ATL than it did in the OTL. Raising manpower should not have been a problem, but equipping them would have been. I'm not sure any author has addressed whether the Soviet Union could have raised even more armies faster than it did in the OTL.

It also seems like the key to Soviet success in the OTL was incessant counterattacking to slow the Germans down and give the Red Army time to raise and equip new armies. If Stalin had just passively chosen places to form a defensive line, that would have given the Germans freedom to perform one kessel after another. In this ATL, Stalin will likely try the same tactic, but the OstHeer is so much stronger that Soviet forces will dissipate far faster than in the OTL, especially in the south. Thus, the whole ATL probably comes down to whether the Soviet Union can raise and equip armies faster than they did in the OTL, in order to be able to constantly counterattack and wear down the forward mobile divisions. Historiography being what it is, we probably have no way of answering this question.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 05:27

historygeek2021 wrote:With 4 more mobile divisions, AGN is likely able to hold its own and doesn't need Panzer Group 3 to come to its assistance.
Hopefully you see my post re Leningrad/NW/Volkhov fronts getting 6 new armies in August-Sept. but not in ATL (unless Moscow abandoned).

But regardless, reaching the Svir in September should be the outcome.
historygeek2021 wrote:I suppose the other big question is whether the Soviet Union can mobilize new armies faster in this ATL than it did in the OTL.
It took about 6 months to raise good division from fresh troops, IIRC (For SU, US and others took much longer). If true then good divisions can't be raised before winter.

In my ATL spreadsheet I assume that SU will field more forces than OTL - at least earlier deployment of forces - because by October they'd have only ~1.5mil troops given the additional kessels, even if 200k more taken from Siberia than OTL.

The spreadsheet shouldn't be taken as exact projection - again more to illustrate declining Soviet power and lower German casualties over campaign's course.

The spreadsheet assume 80% combat value for militia or under-trained troops deployed to prevent a German jailbreak across the steppes. That's IMO conservative given the OTL quality of some Soviet militia units, wherein many personnel had literally days of training or none at all.

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historygeek2021 wrote:Raising manpower should not have been a problem, but equipping them would have been. I'm not sure any author has addressed whether the Soviet Union could have raised even more armies faster than it did in the OTL.
...and as we've been discussing more deeply in the economic threads, raising more manpower makes equipping your existing manpower more difficult.

Nigel Askey's Barbarossa series details that Soviet formations were woefully short of small arms, artillery, transport, and tanks by Fall '41. IMO any further manpower deployed by RKKA over OTL has to be considered rifleman only - even that's dubious.

And that's even before considering the earlier loss of critical production from areas like Central Ukraine, Donetz, Kharkov, Leningrad, and Moscow.

That's a factor I haven't yet put into a spreadsheet but one, I suspect, that makes total Soviet collapse in Fall '41 feasible (by that I mean being able to equip an army with the combat power of, say, only 1.5mil men and the German-planned "railway advance" becoming something like reality).
historygeek2021 wrote:Historiography being what it is, we probably have no way of answering this question.
That would be a good way to avoid saying TMP might be right. ;)

The fundamentals give us a clear answer: to generate significantly more forces than OTL, the SU would need significantly greater production than OTL. There is no chance of that. SU loses more of its industry and population and loses it earlier. From the remaining smaller population it has to draft millions more men. There's no way to square that circle domestically and probably not enough weapons in the entire US to arm the second RKKA that this ATL requires, even were the US willing and able to ship away all its weapons.
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