Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
KDF33
Member
Posts: 1282
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 19:17

per70 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 19:06
No figures on total and serviceable aircraft’s, but maybe around 75 fighters and 25 bombers during August?
On August 1, the aforementioned units had the following number of aircraft (includes both serviceable and undergoing maintenance/unit-level repair):

I./JG51:

3 Bf 109F-1
25 Bf 109F-2

II./JG54:

1 Bf 109F-4
37 Bf 109G-2

Stab/KG53:

4 He 111H-6

II./KG53:

33 He 111H-6

***

Note that I./JG51 exchanged its 28 Bf 109Fs for 1 Fw 190A-1, 10 Fw 190A-2 and 32 Fw 190A-3 sometime in August, presumably prior to entering the fray given that no aircraft was lost that month. Thus, the total assets of the units sent south amounted to:

Single-engined fighters: 66 - 81
Twin-engined bombers: 37

Sourced from here.

per70
Member
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 May 2015 21:32
Location: Norway

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 26 Sep 2023 19:28

Should have checked Ziemke as well :)
Thanks for the total number of aircraft. Too bad we don’t have serviceable numbers.

So without the Rzhev attack, and subsequent transfer of the three Gruppen, there is a chance they would have launched the attack sometime after Aug 4, despite unfavourable weather.

But wait a few days too long, and they get hit by the Soviet Aug 10 attack. Could have turned into an interesting battle, but I have my doubts on whether launching the attack - even with more air support - would have turned out significantly better for the Germans.

Von Bock
Member
Posts: 183
Joined: 24 Oct 2022 17:20
Location: South of Holland

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Von Bock » 27 Sep 2023 10:49

Lets bring some nuance in this topic. The focus here is on the 1941/1942 defensive operations in the East. Usually Hitler gets (negatively) credited with a lot more: The halt order at Dunkirk, too much focus on Stalingrad, reinforcing the lost bridgehead of Tunisia, too many stand and die orders in the last years of the war.

Although I am not impressed by Hitler at all and I don't think he was a genius or anything like that, I am not really convinced that:

1. These decisions were made by him alone. (Dunkirk seems to have been supported by the OKW, for example)

2. These decisions were always 100 procent wrong. It is not 100 percent sure that a two week long elimination of the Brittish Kessel at Dunkirk would have resulted in the success of Fall Rot, for example. Stalingrad was in fact an extremely important northern cornerstone of the whole German effort in Southern Russia. (And the terrible defense of the German flanks was the responsibility of Paulus) The defensive operations in 1941 around Moscow are debated here, just like the Tunisian campaign. I am not saying these were brilliant decisions, but at least they seem to be open for debate and worse outcomes for the Germans are definitely possible.

I think the best case that can be made is the waste of many Kessels ("strongpoints") in 1944 and 1945 in cities or other encircle areas. (Courland, Brest, Dunkirk, Breslau) It seems to me that all these encircled troops would have been of more defensive value. But the question is: Would it really have made a difference?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15681
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by ljadw » 27 Sep 2023 12:07

It would have made no difference at all .

Von Bock
Member
Posts: 183
Joined: 24 Oct 2022 17:20
Location: South of Holland

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Von Bock » 27 Sep 2023 13:25

ljadw wrote:
27 Sep 2023 12:07
It would have made no difference at all .
Maybe not declaring war against the USA could have delayed the American entry in the European theatre for a couple of months? There is not much debate that the USA would eventually enter the war against Germany, but definitely not in December 1941.

On the other hand, the first serious American action on land started in November 1942, I think that scenario is realistic as well when America enters the war in February or March 1942.

Von Bock
Member
Posts: 183
Joined: 24 Oct 2022 17:20
Location: South of Holland

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Von Bock » 27 Sep 2023 13:27

Maybe Falaise is interesting to reconsider as well. What was Hitler's part in that?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15681
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by ljadw » 27 Sep 2023 14:58

Von Bock wrote:
27 Sep 2023 13:25
ljadw wrote:
27 Sep 2023 12:07
It would have made no difference at all .
Maybe not declaring war against the USA could have delayed the American entry in the European theatre for a couple of months? There is not much debate that the USA would eventually enter the war against Germany, but definitely not in December 1941.

On the other hand, the first serious American action on land started in November 1942, I think that scenario is realistic as well when America enters the war in February or March 1942.
After PH ,Germany could not abandon Japan :a Japanese DOW on the US could have no other result than a German DOW on the US .
No DOW on the US would not have as result that Lend-Lease would stop and that the Atlantic Fleet would stop chasing and attacking the German submarines .
PH meant total US mobilization,while Germany would remain number one on the list of enemies .
About Falaise :while its chances of success were almost non existent, the alternative (retreat to the German border ) was even worse ,as this would increase the frontline and give the allied motorized forces every opportunity to advance without encountering opposition .

User avatar
Aida1
Member
Posts: 4514
Joined: 04 Aug 2019 08:46
Location: Brussels

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 27 Sep 2023 15:07

Von Bock wrote:
27 Sep 2023 10:49
Lets bring some nuance in this topic. The focus here is on the 1941/1942 defensive operations in the East. Usually Hitler gets (negatively) credited with a lot more: The halt order at Dunkirk, too much focus on Stalingrad, reinforcing the lost bridgehead of Tunisia, too many stand and die orders in the last years of the war.

Although I am not impressed by Hitler at all and I don't think he was a genius or anything like that, I am not really convinced that:

1. These decisions were made by him alone. (Dunkirk seems to have been supported by the OKW, for example)

2. These decisions were always 100 procent wrong. It is not 100 percent sure that a two week long elimination of the Brittish Kessel at Dunkirk would have resulted in the success of Fall Rot, for example. Stalingrad was in fact an extremely important northern cornerstone of the whole German effort in Southern Russia. (And the terrible defense of the German flanks was the responsibility of Paulus) The defensive operations in 1941 around Moscow are debated here, just like the Tunisian campaign. I am not saying these were brilliant decisions, but at least they seem to be open for debate and worse outcomes for the Germans are definitely possible.

I think the best case that can be made is the waste of many Kessels ("strongpoints") in 1944 and 1945 in cities or other encircle areas. (Courland, Brest, Dunkirk, Breslau) It seems to me that all these encircled troops would have been of more defensive value. But the question is: Would it really have made a difference?
1. Hitler was certainly not alone where Dunkirk is concerned as he supported Rundstedt
2. He was not alone either where the forbidding of retreats in december 1941 was concened but he was certainly wrong. Stalingrad is his sole responsability. He wanted it for its symbolic value. Paulus only obeyed orders.
Tunisia needed to be given up as it could not be held and a lot of experienced men would be lost.

User avatar
Aida1
Member
Posts: 4514
Joined: 04 Aug 2019 08:46
Location: Brussels

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 27 Sep 2023 15:08

Von Bock wrote:
27 Sep 2023 13:27
Maybe Falaise is interesting to reconsider as well. What was Hitler's part in that?
His responsability was not allowing a gradual retreat when it was still possible.

User avatar
Aida1
Member
Posts: 4514
Joined: 04 Aug 2019 08:46
Location: Brussels

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 27 Sep 2023 15:11

KDF33 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 15:11
Aida1 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 14:52
To really destroy a large enemy formation you need to encircle and annihilate it. You do not understand that.
Evidence?

Why do you assume that it is necessary to encircle a unit to annihilate it?
You clearly do not understand what annihilation actually means. :roll:

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1282
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 27 Sep 2023 15:21

Aida1 wrote:
27 Sep 2023 15:11
You clearly do not understand what annihilation actually means. :roll:
What does it mean?

User avatar
Aida1
Member
Posts: 4514
Joined: 04 Aug 2019 08:46
Location: Brussels

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 28 Sep 2023 14:48

KDF33 wrote:
27 Sep 2023 15:21
Aida1 wrote:
27 Sep 2023 15:11
You clearly do not understand what annihilation actually means. :roll:
What does it mean?
Killing or capturing every man and capturing all equipment. Is what happens when you encircle enemy formations. :roll: Not what happens when you push the enemy back.

per70
Member
Posts: 88
Joined: 13 May 2015 21:32
Location: Norway

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 28 Sep 2023 15:33

Aida1 wrote:
28 Sep 2023 14:48
Killing or capturing every man and capturing all equipment. Is what happens when you encircle enemy formations. :roll: Not what happens when you push the enemy back.
Do the German divisions encircled at Stalingrad meet this definition?

I'm wondering since a number of these divisions had manpower outside the pocket for various reasons (on leave, recovering from wounds, taking specialist courses, in the rear area by chance etc) which enabled the Germans to rebuild them based on small core of veterans.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1282
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 28 Sep 2023 18:42

Aida1 wrote:
28 Sep 2023 14:48
Killing or capturing every man and capturing all equipment.
That seldom ever happens.
Is what happens when you encircle enemy formations. :roll:
That would have been news to the Soviet divisions encircled at Vyazma. I'm not sure that even one Soviet division ever lost exactly 100% of its personnel in an encirclement throughout the war.

For example, here's what happened to the divisions of the Soviet 16th Army in October 1941:

-38th Rifle Division: After two weeks of fighting, the remnants of the division, trapped in a swampy forest near the village of Kosteri, made a last attempt to break through. One group was commanded by Chief of Staff Korney Panasyuk, the other was headed by the divisional commander. Part of Panasyuk's group broke through the enemy ring, and the Kirillov group was covered with mortar fire and scattered. Maxim Gavrilovich was seriously wounded and concussed. The group of the division commander, Colonel M. G. Kirillov, failed to get out of the encirclement, on the basis of the division's servicemen, the commander formed the partisan detachment "Death to Fascism", the group of the chief of staff was able to break through to his troops.
-108th Rifle Division: On October 12, organized resistance in this sector of the front ceased. Less than one-third of the division, led by the commander, Major General N. I. Orlov, reached their own in the Dorokhovo area.
-112th Rifle Division: The remnants of the division, including the entire command staff, left the encirclement at the end of October 41 to the location of the 82nd Infantry Division. After leaving the encirclement, Colonel Kopyak was appointed commander of the 140th Rifle Division of the third formation and died in 42.
-214th Rifle Division: Communication with the 214th Infantry Division and the Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 101st Motorized Rifle Division was interrupted and could not be restored. Parts of the group at 16.00 11.10, together with units of the 19th Army, resumed actions to get out of the encirclement. Organized units of the 214th rifle division failed to break out of the Vyazma encirclement.

Of the four divisions, only the 214th seems to have approximated something close to your definition of "anihilation". But even there, it's unclear whether absolutely no men broke out and reached Soviet lines.

Can you identify Soviet divisions that lost 100% of their manpower and equipment in an encirclement?

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1282
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 28 Sep 2023 18:46

Aida1 wrote:
28 Sep 2023 14:48
Killing or capturing every man and capturing all equipment. Is what happens when you encircle enemy formations. :roll: Not what happens when you push the enemy back.
There were even some active personnel of the encircled divisions that were cut off from their parent unit outside of the pocket at the beginning of the Soviet offensive.

Which, going by Aida's definition, means that no German units were annihilated at Stalingrad. Rather, they were only "pushed aside".

Return to “What if”