Daily advance rate comparisons

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Qvist
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Daily advance rate comparisons

Post by Qvist » 17 Jan 2007 21:35

Split off from this thread: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=110913
In any case, the Red Army showed that you could achieve the results by only giving all-terrain mobility to a critical element of your force (armoured forces, AT artillery, key artillery formations), while leaving the rest of it on foot/horse. So I think it is not really necessary to equip all 140 divisions of the Heer on such a lavish scale, but e.g. just giving all divisions in the Panzergruppen this level of all-terrain equipment, with at least a regiment instead of a battalion/company of the infantry in Panzerdivisions in half-tracks (while adding third regiments to ID (mot) again, and maybe one or two additional ID (mot) per Panzergruppe, could already have helped a lot in giving more covering ability and combat power to the strike force. This could have had an operational impact.
Hello Andreas, some remarks to this.

Did the Red Army's motorised formations have more of an all-terrain mobility? I thought they were even more sparsely equipped with half-tracked or tracked transport than the Ostheer? Also, they do not to me seem to have been less limited by logistical constraints in their offensive pushes than their counterparts were in 1941/42, judging from f.e. advance rates:

Barbarossa spearheads 22-28 June:

Corps..................Days..........Distance km..adv rate (km/d)..to objective
LVI......................4.5................310.................73.7......Dvinsk
XXXIX....................4..................325.................81.3......Minsk
XXIV.....................7..................442.................63.1.......Bobruisk

Typhoon, 30 Sept. - 6 October:

LVI......................5..................133.................26.6.......Vyazma
XXXX....................3..................145................48.3........Mozhaisk
XXIV....................4...................228................57...........Orel

We can compare this to Bargation and the Vistula-Oder operations:

Bagration 23 June - 4 July

5 GTA & 11 GA...10................217...................21.7......Minsk
1 GTC & 65A.......10................178..................17.8.......Minsk
Pliyev group........15.................229..................15.3.......Slutsk
5 A.....................11.................178..................16.2.......Not clear

After 4 July, the advance rates were even slower - 5 GTA covered 166 km until 13 July, while Pliyev and 5 GTA 197 and 238 respectively until 27 July.

Vistula-Oder 12 January - 1 February:

2 GTA................19.................490..................25.8.......Oder
1 GTA................19.................460..................24.2.......Oder
4 TA...................11.................337.................30.6....... Oder

Quoted from Zetterling/Franksson, "Analyzing WWII Eastern Front Battles", in Journal of Slavic Military Studies.

Look for example at XXIV PzK during Barbarossa and the Pliyev Cavalry-Mechanised group during Bagration, who advanced on almost exactly inverse axis (NE from Brest-Litovsk and straight E over Baranovitschi and Slutsk to Bobruisk, and NW from a point well south of Bobruisk and then directly West to Bialystok respectively.) XXIV PZK covered its 442 km in 7 days. Pliyev did 426 km in 38 days. Of course, logistics isn't the only reason for that, but given that the Soviet advance rates compare so badly with the German, I find it hard to see that they indicate they had solved the logistical bit that eluded their adversaries!

As for German tracked vehicles, Liddell-Hart's point is mainly that also the supply vehicles needed to be off-road, not just the transport of the combat units. It is possible that he had an exaggerated notion of the extent to which the combat units were equipped with tracked vehicles. But anyway his point, to the extent that it is valid, would still stand even if the combat units had such an increased all-terrain capability.

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Post by Andreas » 17 Jan 2007 22:12

Hi Qvist

I was not referring to tracked/half-tracked, but simply all-terrain, which for me includes 4x4 or 6x6 trucks, such as the Studebaker 2.5t truck. Fully sufficient in most cases.

As for the advance rates, I think it is comparing apples to oranges, since the Soviets did not have the benefit of surprise in any of these cases. I think a fair comparison would be Fall Blau, or Taifun. But that is probably another discussion.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Qvist » 17 Jan 2007 22:17

Well, benefit of surprise doesn't keep your spearheads running at 70 km/d, logistics do. :)

Rates for Taifun are in fact quoted, if you check again - and they well exceed those achieved in both Vistula-Oder and Bagration. Not that I think they are very comparable, as the latter two were undertaken under far more favorable circumstances - particularly logistically speaking.

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Post by Qvist » 18 Jan 2007 10:23

Well, Krivosheev states 35-40 km/d for Rifle formations and 70-90 km/d for mechanised formations. But advance rates can be calculated in many ways, and whatever method Krivosheev and his people were using seems to consistently produce nicer figures than the above quoted figures from Z/F, which takes as its basis the number of days passing from the start of the operation to the attainment of a certain objective, seen against the distance from the start line to that objective as the crow flies.

According to Krivosheev, the advance was 200-800 km in 25 days, which should yield average advance rates of no more than 8 to 32 km/d - this is the way of calculating rate that would AFAICS be comparable to the figures I quoted earlier. If Soviet armored formations really had advance rates of 90 km/d, then they must have spent almost two thirds of the campaign standing still.

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Post by Qvist » 18 Jan 2007 10:48

Well, now that you've got me interested in the subject, here's a quick tabulation from Krivosheev's data by the same method - furthest point of advance divided by the number of days the operation lasted, which may be somewhat simplified in some cases (if the actual furthest point-advance was attained before the operation ended), but should serve as decent rough measure of best-case advance rates.

Tikhvin, Nov/Dec 41: 2.4 km/d
Moscow Dec41-Jan42: 7.4 km/d
Rzhev-Vyazma Jan-Apr42: 2.4 km/d
Stalingrad Nov42-Feb43: 2.6 km/d
North Caucasus jan-feb 43: 17.1 km/d
Iskra jan43: 3.2 km/d
Voronesh-Kharkov Jan-mar 43: 10.4 km/d
Orel Aug 43: 3.9 km/d
Belgorod-Kharkov aug43: 6.7 km/d
Smolensk Aug-oct43: 4.4 km/d
Donbass aug-sep43: 7.3 km/d
Chernigov-Poltava, aug-sep43: 8.3 km/d
Novorossiysk-Taman sep-oct43: 5.0 km/d
Lower Dniepr sep-dec43: 3.5 km/d
Kiev nov43: 13.6 km/d
Dniepr-Carpathian dec43-apr44: 3.9 km/d
Leningrad-Novgorod jan-mar44: 5.8 km/d
Crimea apr-may44: 7.4 km/d
Vyborg-Petrozavodsk: 4.1 km/d
Lvov-Sandomiersz jul-aug44: 7.3 km/d
Iassy-Kishinev aug44: 32 km/d
East Carpathian sep-oct44: 2.2 km/d
Baltic sep-nov44: 4.2 km/d
Belgrade sep-oct44: 8.9 km/d
Petsamo-Kirkenes oct44: 6.5 km/d
Budapest oct44-feb45: 3.7 km/d
Western Carpathian jan-feb45: 6.1 km/d
East Prussian jan-apr45: 1.9 km/d
East Pomeranian: 2.8 km/d
Vienna mar-apr45: 8.1 km/d
Berlin apr-may 45: 9.6 km/d
Prague may45: 33.3 km/d

With a small number of exceptions (apart from Bagration and Vistula-Oder, also the Iassy-Kishinev and Prague operations), the advance tempo of the Red army does not seem to have been paricularly high.

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Post by Jon G. » 18 Jan 2007 12:09

Qvist wrote:Well, now that you've got me interested in the subject, here's a quick tabulation from Krivosheev's data by the same method - furthest point of advance divided by the number of days the operation lasted, which may be somewhat simplified in some cases (if the actual furthest point-advance was attained before the operation ended), but should serve as decent rough measure of best-case advance rates...
Thanks for the data. The numbers are interesting and also illuminating, to a certain point. I don't think we can conclude that the Red Army had 'worse' logistics than the Wehrmacht simply by comparing daily advance rates. There are so many variables to consider from one operation to another that we can't conclude which army did 'best' based only on daily advance rates. I just wanted to add a Soviet operation with a high rate of advance to the discussion - not make any grand conclusions on German and Soviet logistical capabilities based on advance/day rates.

After all, you could add North Africa to the equation to find even higher daily advance rates - but then North Africa was hardly a logistics triumph for the Axis, either :)

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Post by Qvist » 18 Jan 2007 12:41

Some German advances, calculated from a variety of sources:


Pskov/Ostrov-Kholm 41:

Pskov/Ostrov on 9 July
Kholm captured on 6 August
120 km in 28 days, 4.7 km/d


Caucasus 42:
Advance from: Rostov, on 23 July
Advance to: Maikop, captured on 9 August
Distance: 335km in 17 days - 19.7 km/d

Fall Blau - 4.PzA Advance to Voronesh

Advance from: Kursk, on 28 June
Advance to: Voronesh, reached on 6 July
Distance: 350 km (est.) in 9 days - 38.9 km/d

Fall Blau - advance to Stalingrad

From: Stalino 9 July
To: Stalingrad, reached on 23 August
495km in 45 days - 11 km/d



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Post by Qvist » 18 Jan 2007 12:43

Hi Jon
Thanks for the data. The numbers are interesting and also illuminating, to a certain point. I don't think we can conclude that the Red Army had 'worse' logistics than the Wehrmacht simply by comparing daily advance rates. There are so many variables to consider from one operation to another that we can't conclude which army did 'best' based only on daily advance rates.
No, certainly we cannot. We can just conclude that by and large, Red Army advance rates weren't particularly high - just one part of the equation.

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Post by Art » 18 Jan 2007 13:44

Qvist wrote:If Soviet armored formations really had advance rates of 90 km/d, then they must have spent almost two thirds of the campaign standing still.
That is not very far from reality. In Vistla-Oder operation 2TA from 16 day of the offensive 5 days stood at place, 4TA - 6 days (from 19th to 24th January) awaiting for fuel supply (A.I Radzievski "The tank thrust: Tank Army in the offensive operation of the front"). The duration of the operation differs from the one quoted by Zetternig&Francson, I think because the ending date is in some extent the matter of choice. BTW a good illustrations of Red Army's logistical constraints.
As concerns Krivoshev's figures I beleive theese are maximum advance rates but not the average.
With a small number of exceptions (apart from Bagration and Vistula-Oder, also the Iassy-Kishinev and Prague operations), the advance tempo of the Red army does not seem to have been paricularly high.
Not very high compared with what? And the next thing - usually the advance in offensive was not made uniformly with the same speed each day but rather in "jumps" alternating with the periods of slow advance (compare for example the advance rate of Allied forces in France in June 1944 and in late August 1944). As logistical problems were higher during that "fast" periods, the advance rates in them are more important for analysis of logistical system then average rates.

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Post by Qvist » 18 Jan 2007 14:22

Hello Art
That is not very far from reality. In Vistla-Oder operation 2TA from 16 day of the offensive 5 days stood at place, 4TA - 6 days (from 19th to 24th January) awaiting for fuel supply (A.I Radzievski "The tank thrust: Tank Army in the offensive operation of the front"). The duration of the operation differs from the one quoted by Zetternig&Francson, I think because the ending date is in some extent the matter of choice. BTW a good illustrations of Red Army's logistical constraints.
Agreed. Z/F does not actually use the duration of the operation, but the amount of time it took each of the armies to reach the Oder.
As concerns Krivoshev's figures I beleive theese are maximum advance rates but not the average.
Correct - In all cases, I have used the highest distance factor and divided it by the duration of the operation. Hence, the figures represent a maximum average, to put it like that.
Not very high compared with what?
Compared with the German.
And the next thing - usually the advance in offensive was not made uniformly with the same speed each day but rather in "jumps" alternating with the periods of slow advance (compare for example the advance rate of Allied forces in France in June 1944 and in late August 1944). As logistical problems were higher during that "fast" periods, the advance rates in them are more important for analysis of logistical system then average rates.
These are very rough calculations permitting little more than the most general conclusions. And averages for large operations spanning long periods of course fails to reflect this variation. I do not neccessarily agree with you that the "fast periods" are more important for the analysis of the logistical system, at least in the sense of the advance rates achieved during these alone. Logistics is a key factor in determining how long "fast periods" can be kept up, and how many and long "slow periods" occurs during a given operation. So, an average in some ways should tell us more than the "Fast periods" alone do.

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Post by Art » 20 Jan 2007 16:56

Qvist wrote: Compared with the German.
We need more represantative data to made this conclusion. For example hardly the german advance in "Citadel" was faster than average Soviet one. However I agree that if first Stage of "Barbarossa" and in "Blau" german army showed faster advance than Soviet Army did in WW2.

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Post by Andreas » 20 Jan 2007 17:39

Qvist wrote:Well, benefit of surprise doesn't keep your spearheads running at 70 km/d, logistics do. :)
Absence of resistance does too. Italy would be a good example of a logistically well serviced attacker being held up by a tenacious defense. Your initial conclusion when you introduced advance rates seems to ignore that: "Also, they do not to me seem to have been less limited by logistical constraints in their offensive pushes than their counterparts were in 1941/42, judging from f.e. advance rates".
Qvist wrote:Rates for Taifun are in fact quoted, if you check again - and they well exceed those achieved in both Vistula-Oder and Bagration. Not that I think they are very comparable, as the latter two were undertaken under far more favorable circumstances - particularly logistically speaking.

cheers
Thanks for the pointer. Regarding your view that Bagration/Vistula-Oder were undertaken under more favourable circumstances, I think that depends. I would doubt that either of the two were undertaken under more favourable circumstances when considering the quality of the defenders. It also depends on the effectiveness of scorched earth tactics, or on the willingness of the defending command to sacrifice troops at important traffic centres by declaring them to fortresses, thereby delaying the advance of the attacker. It also depends on your plans regarding your overall advance - are you happy to have a relatively weak spearhead dangling far ahead of the bulk of your forces, or would you rather keep your forces closer together?

As Jon pointed out - too many variables in this to arrive at a clear conclusion one way or the other. So I am with Art on this one.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by JonS » 20 Jan 2007 21:03

I'm just free-forming some models that might be applicable here. At the moment I'm reading "Collapse" by Diamond, and his integrated, somewhat complex, multi-factor models are a bit of an influence.

1) Total distance is a factor, but distance alone is no good. For example, Rommel advanced one hell of a long way from Gazala to El Alamein, but I doubt anyone would consider that to be a well-supported advance.

2) Rates of advance are important too, but again not alone. The British essentially went nowhere in front of Caen for about 8 weeks, but I doubt anyone would consider that to be a poorly-supported advance. When to start and stop the clock on this is important - The end of Rommel' advance is easy enough to pick - Jult 2nd. However, when does it start - on May 27 (opening moves around Bir Hakeim), 14 June (end of Gazala phase), 21 June (capture of Tobruk), or some other date?

3) Time duration of an advance is important - a step forward of 10 miles in one day is relatively easy to support, I should think. But a step forward of 70 miles in 7 days, or 140 miles in 14 days would be much harder, and probably in a non-linear sense.

4) Mass moved forward probably counts. I should think that - logistically - BAGRATION was much harder than, say MARKET-GARDEN. This factor probably needs to take into account the geographical width of the advance, as well as the number of troops, tanks, guns, units (however you want to measure it) that advanced. Some kind of 'density' calculation.

5) As Andreas points out, enemy resistance has an impact. High resistance would show up as high consumption of ammunition, low consumption of fuel, high casualties, and low advance (however that's measured), while low resistance would typically display the opposites. Either way, a good or a poor logistics service would influence the ability to continue the attack (or defence).

6) Difficulties imposed by native infrastructure (or lack thereof). AIUI, western Poland is - or rather was - rather thin on transport infrastructure, as was the Fall BLAU area, and Burma was to an even greater degree. Those areas score high for difficulties, rewarding systems which overcome those difficulties. OTOH, Western Europe was very rich in that area, with Italy somewhat middling (especially in the mountainous areas - basically anywhere not within a few miles of the coast or one of the major routes).

One might also give a weighting for overall complexity - land-only being the easiest, sea land being next easiest, land-sea-air being the most difficult, etc. As a first approximation it'd probably be better to leave that out though. Alternately, that complexity will show up in the overall 'sophistication score'. Actually, on thinking about this, it's better left out. The nature of the solution (land, and-sea, land-sea-air) are part of the solution. Looking at Korea in the early 50's, both the UN and the NK/Chinese forces managed to acheive very similar results despite very different log technologies. Because both had similar results their maturity of their respective systems should get similar scores.

I suppose the assumption we are exploring is that it is more difficult - and therefore more of a measure of the maturity of a logistics service - to develop a supply line into newly won areas, especially quickly enough to sustain an advance than it is to sustain offensive operations in more-or-less the same location. ie, mobile warfare at the halt, as WWI has been described.

Actually WWI , and in particular 1918, provide an interesting case study. When the German advance against the British occurred `March their advance quickly petered out, and generally a large part of that is attributed to their inability to develop logistics links across the ravaged ground - especially around the Somme - quickly enough to sustain the advance before the British, bumblers that they are, managed to sort out a new defensive line. On the return trip, fighting across exactly the same ground the British 'somehow' managed to bumble along in an advance that lasted 100 days more-or-less without pause.

Anyway, rating each of the above 6 factors for any given advance might give a better appreciation of the sophistication of the logistics service at any given time. Although, it might give a better picture of the logistics preparations for a particular offensive, though that should have a pretty good correlation with general sophistication. First 'calcs' could be achieved by gut feeling, and rating each factor Low, Med, or High.

So, for Gazala-Alamein 1942 (and not worrying too much about start or end dates) I'd score the Germans as:
1) High
2) High
3) Med
4) Low
5) Low
6) High
Giving an overall score of med.

Other examples welcome.
Last edited by JonS on 20 Jan 2007 23:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JonS » 20 Jan 2007 21:34

Addendum: I wrote the above in haste whilst surrounded by screaming kids. Clarifications and corrections to follow.

(eg, #6 should be 'difficulty imposed by native infra, so a High there is the same as a High in the other factors. For example, Burma is a High, France is a Low. It doesn't matter on an indiv factor basis, but when combining all the factors it does Edit: this has already been changed above. Also a 1-5 scale might be better than a 1-3)
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Post by Jon G. » 20 Jan 2007 22:04

That's a very interesting way of quantifying the logistical difficulty of an advance. Off the cuff, and only to engage one of your points, you seem to be of the opinion that the Western Desert scores high for infrastructure? It's very friendly country for mobile operations, but that doesn't make the supply services' job any easier - on the contrary, it probably makes their job more difficult. Unless you somehow want to factor in the capture of Tobruk (which helped his logistics situation, though of course not immediately), Rommel should get better than 'low' points for your condition 6), above.

Instinctively, 1=low, 2=medium and 4=high seems a better rating system to me than a 1-3 or a 1-5 scale.

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