PODs for Leningrad in 1941

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KDF33
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 21 Jan 2022 09:14

daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Jan 2022 05:32
Well, "his opponents" won, which would suggest otherwise. ;)
There's too many intervening variables for such a simplistic analysis to be taken at face value.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Jan 2022 00:46

KDF33 wrote:
21 Jan 2022 09:14
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Jan 2022 05:32
Well, "his opponents" won, which would suggest otherwise. ;)
There's too many intervening variables for such a simplistic analysis to be taken at face value.
Factual evidence is tough to refute, I know.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 01:42

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 00:46
Factual evidence is tough to refute, I know.
No, you either don't understand or are being deliberately obtuse.

Eventual German defeat doesn't demonstrate that the Allies ran their war effort more rationally than the Germans, because German defeat was the result of various, interlocking variables, of which Allied military-strategic 'rationality' played only a small part.

On top of that, for the Germans to attain victory (i.e., force a stalemate with the Anglo-Americans) they needed to eliminate the Soviet Union within a relatively short timeframe, whereas the Allies only needed the Soviet Union to withstand the German onslaught until the Anglo-Americans could intervene in force, thus foreclosing the risk of Soviet defeat.

In other words, the Germans needed to win quickly and decisively, whereas the Allies only needed (the Soviets) not to lose completely.

I'll let you reflect on which of these two outcomes was the easier to attain. Not that I expect you to grasp the point, but we'll see.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Jan 2022 01:58

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 01:42
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 00:46
Factual evidence is tough to refute, I know.
No, you either don't understand or are being deliberately obtuse.

Eventual German defeat doesn't demonstrate that the Allies ran their war effort more rationally than the Germans, because German defeat was the result of various, interlocking variables, of which Allied military-strategic 'rationality' played only a small part.

On top of that, for the Germans to attain victory (i.e., force a stalemate with the Anglo-Americans) they needed to eliminate the Soviet Union within a relatively short timeframe, whereas the Allies only needed the Soviet Union to withstand the German onslaught until the Anglo-Americans could intervene in force, thus foreclosing the risk of Soviet defeat.

In other words, the Germans needed to win quickly and decisively, whereas the Allies only needed (the Soviets) not to lose completely.

I'll let you reflect on which of these two outcomes was the easier to attain. Not that I expect you to grasp the point, but we'll see.
So, the Germans thought they could "knock out" their largest continental enemy in one campaign season in 1941, dealing with essentially the same geography and climate that led them into an unwinnable two-front war of attrition 37 years earlier?

The definition of irrationality.

By that measure, the Japanese were the most soberly-led of the Axis "powers," such as they were; at least the Japanese weren't suicidal enough to invade the USSR, and their enemies had to cross the largest ocean in the word to get to them, building bases all the way.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 02:23

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 01:58
So, the Germans thought they could "knock out" their largest continental enemy in one campaign season in 1941, dealing with essentially the same geography and climate that led them into an unwinnable two-front war of attrition 37 years earlier?

The definition of irrationality.
The assumption that the USSR could be knocked out within a single campaign season was indeed irrational. My point is not that German strategic planning was, generally speaking, 'rational'. It is that it wasn't significantly more irrational than that of its adversaries. To wit:

-In spring 1941 the British thought that they could land in Greece and hold in the face of an Italo-German offensive, at a time when the Heer wasn't engaged anywhere else.
-In winter 1942, the Soviets thought that they could finish off the Ostheer via a broad-front offensive, which only resulted in massive Soviet losses in men and material and the recapture of the initiative by the Germans.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 01:58
By that measure, the Japanese were the most soberly-led of the Axis "powers," such as they were; at least the Japanese weren't suicidal enough to invade the USSR, and their enemies had to cross the largest ocean in the word to get to them, building bases all the way.
I have two problems with this, of course:

1. I don't think the evidence supports the assertion that invading the USSR was suicidal.
2. The 'tyranny of distance' of the Atlantic Ocean also impacted U.S. force deployments against Germany.

With that being said, I would tend to agree that the Japanese leadership was more sober-minded than Hitler, for what it's worth.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Jan 2022 02:42

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:23
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 01:58
So, the Germans thought they could "knock out" their largest continental enemy in one campaign season in 1941, dealing with essentially the same geography and climate that led them into an unwinnable two-front war of attrition 37 years earlier?

The definition of irrationality.
The assumption that the USSR could be knocked out within a single campaign season was indeed irrational. My point is not that German strategic planning was, generally speaking, 'rational'. It is that it wasn't significantly more irrational than that of its adversaries. To wit:

-In spring 1941 the British thought that they could land in Greece and hold in the face of an Italo-German offensive, at a time when the Heer wasn't engaged anywhere else.
-In winter 1942, the Soviets thought that they could finish off the Ostheer via a broad-front offensive, which only resulted in massive Soviet losses in men and material and the recapture of the initiative by the Germans.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 01:58
By that measure, the Japanese were the most soberly-led of the Axis "powers," such as they were; at least the Japanese weren't suicidal enough to invade the USSR, and their enemies had to cross the largest ocean in the word to get to them, building bases all the way.
I have two problems with this, of course:

1. I don't think the evidence supports the assertion that invading the USSR was suicidal.
2. The 'tyranny of distance' of the Atlantic Ocean also impacted U.S. force deployments against Germany.

With that being said, I would tend to agree that the Japanese leadership was more sober-minded than Hitler, for what it's worth.
The British and Soviets, of course, were not the end-all and be-all of the Allies. ;)

The lack of a Japanese invasion of the USSR in 1941, given their inability to fight a mobile campaign against the Soviets in 1939, would suggest the Japanese certainly saw it as questionable, and given the reality the Allies had already cut off oil supplies to Japan because of their invasion of China, seems rather suicidal to try and mount a land campaign against the Soviets absent any POL source worth the name.

San Francisco to Tokyo is 5,100 miles, roughly; New York to Liverpool is 3,300. And the British Isles, of course, offer slightly more in terms of facilities and resources to an expeditionary force from North America than - say - the Bonins or Ryukyus do for the same, as well.

And, of course, for the Americans to get to the UK, they didn't have to invade, fight for, and build bases in Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, etc., and against the third largest fleet in the world, either.

Slight differences, I know. ;)

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 03:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
It's a matter of degree. Viewed in isolation in September 39 I think a fairly rapid German victory was the more likely outcome. That doesn't mean, however, that contingency didn't intervene. Had a German officer betrayed Fall Gelb plans in March '40 rather in late '39, for example, perhaps the Sichelschnitt is disastrously counterattacked
My impression is that German victory hinged on the adoption by the Germans of the Sichelschnitt combined with the French adoption of the Dyle-Bréda plan.

French forces were very large in spring 1940, with a total of 2,727,440 men serving in the operational ground forces of metropolitan France on May 1. That would have been only slightly smaller than the contemporary total for the Feldheer. To those French forces have to be added the BEF and, from May 10, the Dutch and Belgian forces.

Had the French played it safe and refused to rush their forces into the Benelux, I doubt that the Germans could have eliminated such a large proportion of enemy divisions via encirclement. The French lost 31 divisions during Fall Gelb, which together with the evacuation and incapacitation of most of the BEF gave the Wehrmacht a large numerical and material superiority for the second phase of the campaign, the invasion of France proper.

I think there's a fair chance that the French, had they stayed together with the British on the Franco-Belgian frontier, with their mobile forces kept in reserve, could have checked the German advance, prevented a breakthrough and 'frozen' the front into static-ish warfare, with their greater long-term force generation ultimately deciding the conflict in their favor.

Admittedly, this is not an opinion I am overwhelmingly confident in, and I'll admit there are some factors I have no data on (most importantly IMO, French ammunition production). I'd be very interested in discussing it in detail, because it's an area where I feel there's still a lot left to clarify.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
The Phoney War period - in which Germany executed perhaps the most successful crash training program in modern history on an army that showed serious deficiencies in Poland - is an underrated contingency.
I agree. Indeed, I would argue that the experience the Wehrmacht gained between September 1939 and June 1941 accounts for a substantial portion of the 'proficiency delta' between the Ostheer and the RKKA in 1941. Which is another reason why IMO there was no pressing need to 'stop Hitler' in 1939: his 'drive to the East' was not really transforming Germany into the European hegemon. Rather, it was making Germany a neighbor of the USSR, at a time when the former had none of the prospects for victory that it would acquire by mid-1941.

The real risk to London and Paris in 1939 was that Hitler would attack France and win. By declaring war on Germany right after Berlin and Moscow had at least temporarily stabilized their relations, the British and French forced the issue upon Hitler, an issue where time favored them and that Hitler had as yet been unwilling to face head on. In a sense, it was a classic case of 'committing suicide out of fear of death'.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
...critical on geostrategic grounds, of course, as you've said elsewhere (before the howls of moral indignation pour in).
I'd hope it'd go without saying, but you're probably right that I ought to make it very obvious that none of the criticism is on moral grounds.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
The guarantee was certainly premature - a knee-jerk reaction by a politician trying to posture without thinking everything through first. The ambiguous guarantee of Polish independence rather than borders was immediately clocked by Hitler as a sign of weakness - it was - but Hitler didn't have the political sophistication to understand that public sentiment would carry Chamberlain farther than he wanted, once the guarantee had been given. Only the formal alliance convinced Hitler that Britain would likely go to war but Britain didn't reach that until far too late to deter Hitler, who had his own political dynamics that Chamberlain didn't understand.
Agreed, and very well put.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
By guaranteeing Poland and at least rhetorically committing to war over her, Britain lost all leverage over the SU, which had the option of freeriding on the ensuing and expected mayhem. Stalin's desire for collective security was genuine - even his excellent but stridently right-wing biographer Stephen Kotkin concludes so - but was of course only one of his desires. OTL Stalin got to choose between free expansionism with Germany or pitching in to a difficult war.
Agreed.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jan 2022 03:29
I'm still of the opinion that collective security (with the SU) should have been given the chance it deserved.

ATL Stalin (no Polish guarantee and earnest efforts at collective security) foresees the path you recommend and the prospect of abutting a hostile Germany and Japan alone. Unlike Hitler his instrumental rationality is of the highly deliberative type and he probably chooses collective security. The Poles simply have to go along.
My issue with this isn't so much that collective security against Hitler's Germany would have failed (I think it likely would have succeeded), but rather: what then?

In the event of war, Germany would be crushed relatively quickly, the Soviet Union would likely be no more bloodied than the Franco-British, and the Red Army would realistically advance as far into Central Europe, if not further, than in the 1945 OTL. With 25 million-ish less dead, no destruction visited upon their country and minimal losses in birthrates, Stalin and his eventual successors would be in control of an incomparatively stronger country, with the U.S. still a negligible military and geopolitical entity in Eurasia.

In the event of successful deterrence, with each passing year the USSR would emerge as the more dominant partner in the Anglo-French-Soviet security troika, up until a point where collective security would become unnecessary to ensure Soviet safety, unlike for Britain and France. This doesn't necessarily mean that the Soviets would repudiate their engagements, but Soviet options would certainly expand at the very same time as those of London and Paris would shrink.

Ultimately the 'rules-based international order', as constituted post-WWI, required one of three alternatives: (1) a non-revisionist Germany which, together with Britain and France, could check Russian revisionism, (2) a liberal (not merely non-revisionist) Russia which, together with Britain and France, could check German revisionism, or (3) serious, deep engagement by the United States in the affairs of Eurasia, in conjunction with Britain and France.

The tragedy is that both the USSR and Germany became revisionist powers, and that the U.S. stayed aloof from international developments until it was one minute to midnight.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 03:23

daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
The British and Soviets, of course, were not the end-all and be-all of the Allies. ;)
True, there were also the French, who pushed strenuously to bomb Baku and adopted the Dyle-Bréda plan.

As for the U.S., they didn't have much opportunity to visibly screw up, given that, barring the first 6 months of the Pacific War, they never faced serious military opposition.

With that being said, TMP has raised serious questions about U.S. execution of their 'Germany first' strategy, and although I have yet to properly explore the issue myself, I would seriously consider his views before concluding that the U.S. ran its war effort 'rationally'.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
The lack of a Japanese invasion of the USSR in 1941, given their inability to fight a mobile campaign against the Soviets in 1939, would suggest the Japanese certainly saw it as questionable, and given the reality the Allies had already cut off oil supplies to Japan because of their invasion of China, seems rather suicidal to try and mount a land campaign against the Soviets absent any POL source worth the name.
I was under the impression that you meant that a German invasion of the USSR was suicidal. Hence my comment. I agree that in the context of the U.S. embargo, the 'southern strategy' made the most sense for Japan.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
San Francisco to Tokyo is 5,100 miles, roughly; New York to Liverpool is 3,300. And the British Isles, of course, offer slightly more in terms of facilities and resources to an expeditionary force from North America than - say - the Bonins or Ryukyus do for the same, as well.

And, of course, for the Americans to get to the UK, they didn't have to invade, fight for, and build bases in Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, etc., and against the third largest fleet in the world, either.
Certainly, but then:

1. The Germans were a far stronger military and industrial power than Japan, thus the U.S. would need to proportionally expend more resources to have a similar effect on Germany than on Japan.
2. The Persian Gulf sea route was, in fact, longer than its Pacific counterparts.
3. With the Japanese as an active German ally, the U.S. had to allocate substantial resources to the Pacific theater anyway, while also trying to deploy forces to Europe under a viable timeframe. This was, indeed, the primary reason why Hitler pursued the Japanese alliance.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by daveshoup2MD » 22 Jan 2022 05:00

KDF33 wrote:
22 Jan 2022 03:23
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
The British and Soviets, of course, were not the end-all and be-all of the Allies. ;)
True, there were also the French, who pushed strenuously to bomb Baku and adopted the Dyle-Bréda plan.

As for the U.S., they didn't have much opportunity to visibly screw up, given that, barring the first 6 months of the Pacific War, they never faced serious military opposition.

With that being said, TMP has raised serious questions about U.S. execution of their 'Germany first' strategy, and although I have yet to properly explore the issue myself, I would seriously consider his views before concluding that the U.S. ran its war effort 'rationally'.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
The lack of a Japanese invasion of the USSR in 1941, given their inability to fight a mobile campaign against the Soviets in 1939, would suggest the Japanese certainly saw it as questionable, and given the reality the Allies had already cut off oil supplies to Japan because of their invasion of China, seems rather suicidal to try and mount a land campaign against the Soviets absent any POL source worth the name.
I was under the impression that you meant that a German invasion of the USSR was suicidal. Hence my comment. I agree that in the context of the U.S. embargo, the 'southern strategy' made the most sense for Japan.
daveshoup2MD wrote:
22 Jan 2022 02:42
San Francisco to Tokyo is 5,100 miles, roughly; New York to Liverpool is 3,300. And the British Isles, of course, offer slightly more in terms of facilities and resources to an expeditionary force from North America than - say - the Bonins or Ryukyus do for the same, as well.

And, of course, for the Americans to get to the UK, they didn't have to invade, fight for, and build bases in Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, etc., and against the third largest fleet in the world, either.
Certainly, but then:

1. The Germans were a far stronger military and industrial power than Japan, thus the U.S. would need to proportionally expend more resources to have a similar effect on Germany than on Japan.
2. The Persian Gulf sea route was, in fact, longer than its Pacific counterparts.
3. With the Japanese as an active German ally, the U.S. had to allocate substantial resources to the Pacific theater anyway, while also trying to deploy forces to Europe under a viable timeframe. This was, indeed, the primary reason why Hitler pursued the Japanese alliance.
The French were sidelined after 1940 and had no influence on Allied strategy after that; likewise, the major historical Allied offensives - North Africa-MTO-ETO in 1942-45 and South/Central Pacific-Western Pacific-Home Islands in 1942-45 were about as rational as can be imagined; notably, they destroyed both major enemies in - roughly - 30-36 months after they began, respectively (Nov., 1942 to May, 1945 in the ETO, and Aug., 1942 to Sept., 1945 in the Pacific). Seems pretty expeditious, especially compared to 1914-18 and the Eastern Front in 1941-45; 11 months from the Channel to the German surrender is lightning, in comparison.

As far as the Persian Gulf goes, after the initial six days of the 1941 invasion, there wasn't any local opposition to the Allied occupation, so that's pretty much irrelevant as a comparison.

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2022 05:02

KDF33 wrote:TMP has raised serious questions about U.S. execution of their 'Germany first' strategy
Besides my broader arguments about insufficient attention to ground forces and unnecessary, panick/politically-inflected diversions to the Pacific, Operation Drumbeat and its follow-ons is a stark, massively underrated, entirely avoidable strategic disaster. It's the biggest Axis naval victory of the war, orders of magnitude more damaging than Pearl Harbor or Savo Island.

At the cost of 10 or so Uboats, Germany sank ~2.8mil GRT of shipping. Compared to prevailing trends, this is ~2mil tons of avoidable shipping losses.

Why so impactful? In all of 1942, US Army shipped 2.4mil measurement tons (MT = 40ft3) of cargo to Europe. The shipping lost to DRUMBEAT (etc) could have moved ~15mil MT that year (60 day turnaround time so ~6 trips/ship/year, 1 GRT of 100ft3 = at least 1.2MT of usable cargo space). That's easily enough to ship 45 divisions (not that 45 were available but the logistical constraint is gone).

That cargo lift - if not diverted to Pacific as well - makes SLEDGEHAMMER easily doable (logistically) in September 1942, even with OTL Pacific diversions. You need landing craft too but the US cut landing craft production to free shipyards to replace DRUMBEAT losses, which obviously doesn't happen absent those losses.

Why was this avoidable? Because we weren't running convoys in US/Caribbean waters (!!!!!!!!).. Despite everybody knowing that convoys limited losses.

Best source is Gannon's Operation Drumbeat: The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2022 05:46

KDF33 wrote:I'd be very interested in discussing it in detail, because it's an area where I feel there's still a lot left to clarify.
Same, my argument is tentative and rests on top-level dynamics that I could see being rebutted by more detailed analysis (but haven't so seen yet).

The first top-level dynamic is analogy to 1918. This isn't a case-closing argument, rather a frame for considering the relative war-making potential of the powers as demonstrated in the last war.
  • In 1918 the Kaiserschlacht threatened French defeat. This was only averted with the assistance of 50 British divisions, with Italy diverting 95% of Habsburg effort, with Germany having lost ~500k permanently in the East, with Germany maintaining a ~1mil occupation army in the East, and with US's entry maintaining morale (plus a miniscule material contribution that spring).
  • In 1940 France gets assistance from 10 British divisions, has to cover the Italian border with 10 divisions, at least half of "Habsburg" military might is on the Western Front via Anschluss and occupied Czechia, US is nowhere on the horizon, Germany screens its east with 8 divisions.
  • Between 1918 and 1940, Germany's population grew at faster rate than France's due to low French birthrates.
  • Unlike in 1918, mechanization means that breakthroughs (which Heer achieved in 1918) risk rapid catastrophe rather than merely compelling retreat.
  • One could run this frame regarding 1914 as well but a timeframe accounting for respective Total War mobilizations seems more apt re 1940.
If we consider an ATL Kaiserschlacht absent 80% of the BEF, with 500k more Germans, with half the Habsburg army added, with no immediate hope of US help, and with France committing 10divs to screen Italy, I think it's pretty obvious that France is defeated in 1918 [plus higher German birthrates]. In fact some of the foregoing ATL conditions seem independently sufficient to make France's 1918 defeat likely, especially the radically smaller BEF (which bore the brunt of Kaiserschlacht initially).

From that frame I interrogate whether the nominal May 1940 numbers give an accurate picture of true relative combat strength. A few things stand out:
  • France has mobilized ~same number of men as Germany, on a population base ~half as large and older. What implications for relative quality? I see evidence that France, like Germany a few years later, had an army too old/sick/unfit relative to its opponent.
  • How feasible is a durable Dutch/Belgian contribution? Absent their divisions, Germany already has ~1.4:1 numerical advantage. Unless Heer is stopped cold at the border most/all Dutch/Belgian war-making potential rapidly disappears.
  • What about relative combat proficiency? This is the most controversial aspect but IMO it's clear the Germans were qualitatively better on land.
  • The weakened German right wing rapidly overran Belgium's vaunted border defenses and forced Allies to choose a line farther west than they'd have preferred. If the weak German right can do this against the best Allied forces, what would a strong German right have done?
  • The LW dominated the battle space, in part because Britain withheld its best air superiority assets from the battle.
I'm giving a frame for eventual detailed discussion, hoping you'll correct any top-level misimpressions before wading into the details some day.

It seems obvious to me that Germany would rapidly eliminate the Belgian/Dutch, after which they would have significant nominal superiority and, given their higher qualitative traits demonstrated in WW1, would have even greater true combat power superiority.

What's obvious to me, however, is not to you and - probably most challengingly - seems not to have been obvious to the 1940 German army itself. So this is a tentative thesis but for now I can't do other than hold it.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 06:02

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 05:02
Why so impactful? In all of 1942, US Army shipped 2.4mil measurement tons (MT = 40ft3) of cargo to Europe. The shipping lost to DRUMBEAT (etc) could have moved ~15mil MT that year (60 day turnaround time so ~6 trips/ship/year, 1 GRT of 100ft3 = at least 1.2MT of usable cargo space). That's easily enough to ship 45 divisions (not that 45 were available but the logistical constraint is gone).

That cargo lift - if not diverted to Pacific as well - makes SLEDGEHAMMER easily doable (logistically) in September 1942, even with OTL Pacific diversions. You need landing craft too but the US cut landing craft production to free shipyards to replace DRUMBEAT losses, which obviously doesn't happen absent those losses.
Adding to this, I've compiled measurement tons shipped to each theater and multiplied it by each theater's transit time. I get this:

Share of Army shipping resources allocation, measurement tons*trip day:

1Q1942: 21.6% theaters against Germany, 78.4% theaters against Japan
2Q1942: 34.5% theaters against Germany, 65.5% theaters against Japan
3Q1942: 61.2% theaters against Germany, 38.8% theaters against Japan
4Q1942: 59.4% theaters against Germany, 39.6% theaters against Japan
1Q1943: 61.7% theaters against Germany, 38.3% theaters against Japan
2Q1943: 64.9% theaters against Germany, 35.1% theaters against Japan

Note that Navy shipping isn't included in the above. Given how Navy resources were overwhelmingly deployed against Japan, it appears that 'Germany first' was a misnomer and ought to have been renamed 'Germany and Japan both', at least up to mid-1943.

Source: Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943, Appendix E-2, p. 733

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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2022 08:48

KDF33 wrote:Had the French played it safe and refused to rush their forces into the Benelux, I doubt that the Germans could have eliminated such a large proportion of enemy divisions via encirclement.
Continuing from my last post... I'd guess the French roughly knew the balance of forces and knew that, unless Benelux armies were preserved, they would be seriously outnumbered.* Given Leopold's character and Dutch isolation from help if Belgium falls, they probably figured that losing Belgium's territory would mean losing the Belgian and Dutch armies.

*My impression is that French combat strength doesn't compare favorably in divisional terms. Per Frieser's Blitzkrieg Legend France had 104 divs facing Germany (inc. 11 reserve) while Germany had 141 divs (inc reserves). The raw personnel stats may be closer but may be apples-oranges in terms of coverage (including some French personnel that would fall under Ersatzheer for Germany, for example).
KDF33 wrote:I think there's a fair chance that the French, had they stayed together with the British on the Franco-Belgian frontier, with their mobile forces kept in reserve, could have checked the German advance, prevented a breakthrough and 'frozen' the front into static-ish warfare, with their greater long-term force generation ultimately deciding the conflict in their favor.
Agreed about the long-term, subject to caveats.

Caveat #1: Expecting there to be a long term under these conditions seems dubious for the reasons already stated: Dutch/Belgians likely gone quickly; thereafter French army doesn't match up to German if reinforced by only 10 British divisions.

Caveat #2:
You're right that the combined populations and GDP of France+Britain+Dominions (+favorable trade with US) exceeds Germany's population and GDP.
~60% of that production and latent army, however, comes from Britain+Dominions, who simply refuse to slug it out with Germany as they did in the last war. Forczyk's Case Red this discussion:
The Cabinet followed up by recommending a programme of
peacetime conscription and that the TA would be increased from
173,000 personnel to 400,000 within a year. Yet this conscription
proved a hollow effort, since it only called up eligible males for six
months’ training as ‘militiamen’ then released them into the reserve.
At the same time, Chamberlain’s cabinet finally decided to form a
total of 32 divisions (six regular and 26 TA) by September 1941. The
Cabinet stuck with the decision to send only four regular divisions to
assist France, but informed the French that this initial BEF would
eventually be supplemented with two armoured divisions and six or
seven TA divisions. The British General Staff did not expect the BEF
to be fully formed until at least one year after mobilization, since the
TA units would start from zero, without training or modern
equipment.
What seems lacking here is the appropriate sense of emergency. In 1914, The Empire had 3+ years to build up its army before France faced a one-front war against Germany. Everybody knew that Poland was cooked and that France would be in a one-front war with Germany by 1940. Why not an emergency effort to replicate at least the 1916 BEF contribution, to maximize chances of preserving the Allies' global resource advantage long enough for it to tell? I keep going back Lloyd George laughing in Chamberlain's face when Neville said Poland was the second front needed to defeat Germany.

Of course it was probably too late, when Hitler marched in Poland, to deploy a WW1-size BEF by Spring 1940, probably even with appropriate emergency sensibility. But that's all the more reason to adjust policy/diplomacy to one's actual power...
KDF33 wrote:My issue with this isn't so much that collective security against Hitler's Germany would have failed (I think it likely would have succeeded), but rather: what then?
It's a good question on which I'm not resolved (will assay below) but IMJ the proximate crisis needed to be the focus. That crisis is that the continent's strongest power is threatening war; it must be deterred, defeated, or appeased. To the extent that Chamberlain/Daladier spurned collective security, they were not focusing on the proximate crisis - rather on the postwar settlement. That seems ludicrous given the threat. Chamberlain just doesn't seem very concerned about losing the war, perhaps because such loss wouldn't have been proximately calamitous for his country.

Solving the proximate crisis buys time for something else to emerge that doesn't risk Hitler conquering Western/Central Europe.

On "what then"...

I'd guess the proto-fascist or conservative-authoritarian states of Central/Eastern Europe gravitate towards Germany due to fear of the Soviet Union. Even so, a block of the OTL European Axis plus Poland and Yugoslavia can't win a war against the Grand Alliance. That block is, however, much more threatening to the Soviet Union than to France/UK if the Grand Alliance falls apart: Germany could probably lead that block (minus Yugoslavia and Bulgaria) into war against SU but not into war against the West. IMO this makes it unlikely that the SU feels it adds more to the Grand Alliance than it gets.

what after that?

I'd guess that the US keeps moving out of isolation and is an active player with a powerful military by the mid-40's. It did have genuine concern about China, for example, and was gradually getting off its @$$ to do something about it.
***********************
crossing border from speculation into wild speculation, more like investigation
***********************
If the Grand Alliance and Continental Axis hold into the mid/latter '40's, maybe:

Anti-Communist Crusade:
  • Britain and France fall under the US security blanket and recede from the now-redundant Grand Alliance.
  • Germany and its fascistic block are given cart blanche to eradicate Communism, perhaps with Japan.
Wilsonian crusade:
  • Confident of American participation, the Grand Alliance provokes a war against Germany et. al.
  • Unlike OTL, this crusade is directed by America from the outset. She enters willing and able to extend forces into Balkans etc., demands backed by threat of nuclear force. SU isn't necessary to defeating Axis, only convenient, and therefore credible assertions can made against Stalin.
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Jan 2022 09:27

KDF33 wrote:Share of Army shipping resources allocation, measurement tons*trip day:
This is great, btw. I've been meaning to convert my old spreadsheet based on estimated ton-miles into days but lost that sheet in a hard drive crash. :x :x :x
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Re: PODs for Leningrad in 1941

Post by KDF33 » 22 Jan 2022 09:39

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jan 2022 05:02
Why so impactful? In all of 1942, US Army shipped 2.4mil measurement tons (MT = 40ft3) of cargo to Europe. The shipping lost to DRUMBEAT (etc) could have moved ~15mil MT that year (60 day turnaround time so ~6 trips/ship/year, 1 GRT of 100ft3 = at least 1.2MT of usable cargo space). That's easily enough to ship 45 divisions (not that 45 were available but the logistical constraint is gone).
I've looked at the dates U.S. divisions were formed, and although there indeed weren't 45 available in the second half of 1942, there actually was already a significant force, namely:

Inter-war divisions: Four

-1st Infantry, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Infantry, 1st Cavalry

Activated in October 1939: Two

-5th Infantry, 6th Infantry

Activated in June 1940: One

-4th Infantry

Activated in July 1940: Five

-7th Infantry, 8th Infantry, 77th Infantry, 1st Armored, 1nd Armored

Activated in August 1940: One

-9th Infantry

Activated in September 1940: Four

-30th Infantry, 41st Infantry, 44th Infantry, 45th Infantry

Activated in October 1940: Three

-27th Infantry, 32nd Infantry, 37th Infantry

Activated in November 1940: Two

-31st Infantry, 36th Infantry

Activated in December 1940: One

-35th Infantry

Activated in January 1941: Two

-26th Infantry, 38th Infantry

Activated in February 1941: Four

-28th Infantry, 29th Infantry, 34th Infantry, 43rd Infantry

Activated in March 1941: Two

-33rd Infantry, 40th Infantry

Activated in April 1941: Two

-3rd Armored, 4th Armored

*********************

There was then a pause in activations, with no further U.S. divisions formed until October 1941. That's still 33 divisions that had at least 18 months of training by fall 1942, of which 28 were Infantry, 1 was Cavalry and 4 were Armored.

Here's where the U.S. was deploying them around late October / early November 1942, with month of activation in ():


Fighting in New Guinea (1): 32nd Infantry (10/40)

Deployed to Australia (1): 41st Infantry (09/40)

Deployed to New Zealand (1): 43rd Infantry (02/41)

Garrisoning the Fiji Islands (1): 37th Infantry (10/40)

Garrisoning Hawaii (2): 27th Infantry (10/40), 40th Infantry (03/41)

*Against Japan*


Still in CONUS (19): 2nd Infantry (11/17), 4th Infantry (06/40), 6th Infantry (10/39), 7th Infantry (07/40), 8th Infantry (07/40), 26th Infantry (01/41), 28th Infantry (02/41), 30th Infantry (09/40), 31st Infantry (11/40), 33rd Infantry (03/41), 35th Infantry (12/40), 36th Infantry (11/40), 38th Infantry (01/41), 44th Infantry (09/40), 45th Infantry (09/40), 77th Infantry (07/40), 1st Cavalry (09/21), 3rd Armored (04/41), 4th Armored (04/41)


*Against Germany*

Garrisoning Iceland (1): 5th Infantry (10/39)

Deployed to Britain (1): 29th Infantry (02/41)

Torch landing forces (6 divisions): 1st Infantry (06/17), 3rd Infantry (11/17), 9th Infantry (08/40), 34th Infantry (02/41), 1st Armored (07/40), 2nd Armored (07/40)

*******

That's a total of 14 / 33 divisions deployed outside CONUS, of which only 7 were engaging (or about to engage) enemy forces. Note that a further 3 recently-activated divisions were also deployed: the 23rd Infantry (05/42) was transiting and had its forward elements already fighting on Guadalcanal, the 24th Infantry (12/41) was garrisoning Hawaii and the 25th Infantry (10/41) was preparing to join the 23rd and relieve the Marines on Guadalcanal.

A further division raised in fall 1941, the 5th Armored (10/41), was training in CONUS.

All other then-active U.S. divisions had been raised after February 15, 1942.

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