German Railways in the East

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Apr 2020 23:05

GregSingh wrote:Here is a photo of Rostov-on-Don railroad bridges
Thank you! Do you know when the replacement bridge opened?

Wonder why they built a whole new bridge when it looks like 2/3 of the old bridge was still usable? Probably the roadbed of the remaining parts was also destroyed?

IIRC the practice was usually for the Ostheer to build over destroyed bridges, as at least the piers remained.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 04 Apr 2020 01:47

Smaller bridge was opened in Sep/Oct 1942, October the 1st was the "official" date.

Three-span bridge was only looking promising, it was beyond repair, as it was a drawbridge with vertically rising middle truss to allow vessels to pass).
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Apr 2020 08:07

GregSingh wrote:
04 Apr 2020 01:47
Smaller bridge was opened in Sep/Oct 1942, October the 1st was the "official" date.

Three-span bridge was only looking promising, it was beyond repair, as it was a drawbridge with middle part turning sideways to allow vessels to pass).
Thanks. Do you know whether the Germans had a rail ferry in operation between July and October? Did they ever use rail ferries?
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 04 Apr 2020 08:21

Not in Rostov, there was one in use in Cherson.
In Rostov they used road transport over pontoon bridge.
South of Don river Germans managed to get railroads up and running to Saretschnaja (Заречная).
Once railroad bridge was in place it took only 5 minutes to get from Saretschnaja to Rostov Hbf. according to timetable.

Pontoon bridge in Rostov on Don, 1942.
Rostov 1942 06.jpg
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Apr 2020 21:09

GregSingh wrote:
04 Apr 2020 08:21
Not in Rostov, there was one in use in Cherson.
In Rostov they used road transport over pontoon bridge.
South of Don river Germans managed to get railroads up and running to Saretschnaja (Заречная).
Once railroad bridge was in place it took only 5 minutes to get from Saretschnaja to Rostov Hbf. according to timetable.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge - would have responded earlier but must have missed the notification.

Any info on the rail ferry in Cherson?

Where is Заречная? Nearest result Google maps gave me is in Bryansk Oblast. Judging by the time and German difficulties with Mag-Lev and teleportation tech, it can't be far from Rostov. That's not as far as the line went south/east of Don, is it?

Was it standard practice for the Germans to publish timetables for lines in the SU? I wouldn't have thought they'd be providing common-carrier-type services...
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by GregSingh » 09 Apr 2020 00:03

We had some photos and maps earlier in this topic about Cherson ferry, use search function.

Train station Заречная is just on the other side of the Don river - 47°12'16.6"N 39°42'14.8"E
I meant railroads were operational from Zarechnaya all the way down south to Caucasus, but Zarechnaya was as far as you could reach by rail traveling north from Caucasus, until the bridge was built over Don in Rostov.
So in case of supplying armies near Caucasus, they used road transport all the way from Rostov train station (over pontoon bridge) down south to Caucasus or trucks loaded at Rostov train station were unloaded to trains in Zarechnaya / Batajsk and goods were transported down south by railroads.

Yes, it was a common practice to publish timetables, although for obvious reasons those for general use did not contain any info about strict military transports. For these you needed service timetables, I think we uploaded an example earlier in this topic as well.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Apr 2020 21:40

Greg Singh wrote:I meant railroads were operational from Zarechnaya all the way down south to Caucasus, but Zarechnaya was as far as you could reach by rail traveling north from Caucasus, until the bridge was built over Don in Rostov.
So in case of supplying armies near Caucasus, they used road transport all the way from Rostov train station (over pontoon bridge) down south to Caucasus or trucks loaded at Rostov train station were unloaded to trains in Zarechnaya / Batajsk and goods were transported down south by railroads.
Thank you. That makes so much more sense.

I am really interested in exactly this topic: whether the Germans were able to maintain railroad operations on the far side of a river before the reconstruction of a railroad bridge.

Here you're indicating that the Germans ran trains in the Caucasus before the completion of the Rostov railroad bridge. Do you know whether the pre-bridge Caucasus railroad ops used German or Russian gauge and equipment? If German, then they must have had some way to ferry/carry rolling stock to the far side. That's why I'm interested in the topic of rail ferries. If Russian, it was probably a low-capacity operation improvised by the Army Group.

One reason I'm very interested in this topic is the contrast between the '41 trans-Dniepr advance by AGS and its '42 trans-Don analogue. In '41 it appears that AGS was unsupported by rail east of the Dniepr until very late in the year. Creveld mentions that AGC had to send 5,000 tons of Grosstransportraum to AGS in late September, just ahead of the critical Taifun offensive that lacked sorely for truck transport. AGS apparently experimented with running captured Russian stock east of the Dniepr during this period.

If the Germans were running Germans stock/gauge south of the Don prior to the Rostov bridge reconstruction, it demonstrates a significant logistical capacity deployed in '42 that wasn't in '41.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 May 2020 14:57

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
16 Apr 2020 21:40
whether the Germans were able to maintain railroad operations on the far side of a river before the reconstruction of a railroad bridge.
It might be of interest that 21 Army Group did exactly this in September 1944 across the Seine. Obviously wasteful in terms of unloading and loading of railway to/from motor transport in terms of labour, time and transport resources, but certainly achievable.

Regards

Tom

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 29 Jul 2020 09:57

Hi,

TMP has asked me to add a bit more detail re 21 Army Group's admin operations across the Seine.

This is from "The Administrative History of 21 Army Group - 6 June 1944 - 8 May 1945":
CONTROL OF TRANSPORT
The BRITISH L of C was now approximately four hundred miles long. In order that some of the grounded formations of Second Army could be lifted up before the next advance took place, a short breathing space occurred in which maintenance supplies were also brought up. Meanwhile, plans were being laid for further advances eastwards in BELGIUM and northwards across the MAAS and the RHINE in conjunction with an airborne operation. It was immediately realised that this would place an even greater strain on the greatly extended L of C and road transport. The main depots from which the armies were being maintained were still in the RMA and there were virtually no stocks on the ground between them and the holdings in corps FMCs in forward areas. The support of this advance and airborne operation was an administrative risk as it would absorb all the reserves in the pipeline. On the other hand, if it failed or was not entirely successful there would of necessity be a long pause while the L of C was re-organised and reserves built up. The closest supervision and control in order that the best use should be made of every means of transport was therefore necessary, but Second Army had got too far ahead and it was impossible to have adequate control from a HQ at either of the two ends of the L of C. About 10 September therefore it was decided to establish an organisation to be called TRANCO, which would co-ordinate all means of transport from the RMA to the army roadheads. It consisted of an integrated "Q" and "Q" Movements staff with Services representatives from RASC and Labour to assist, and was set up at AMIENS in time to take control on 19 September. AMIENS was selected for its location as being approximately half way along the L of C, a big rail centre and possessed of good communications. The establishment of TRANCO meant that a radical change in the road transport policy of 21 Army Group must occur. All GHQ transport would be withdrawn from armies and would operate under the direct control of HQ 21 Army Group both at the ports and on the L of C, leaving to the armies only sufficient for the traffic forward from the army roadheads. TRANCO directed and co-ordinated with other agencies movement of personnel, stores and transport for stocking army roadheads. It was also responsible for the transhipment of stores from railheads SOUTH of the SEINE to railtails NORTH of the SEINE. Armies submitted estimates of their daily maintenance requirements by commodities for five day periods five days in advance. TRANCO then issued an outline rail and road programme and by judicious use of the railtails NORTH of the SEINE and of the transport that was running through from the RMA, was able to adjust demands in accordance with ruling priorities. The flow of supplies for the two armies which had been gradually decreasing up to that period began to increase again and although the levels of all commodities and stores inevitably fell to a low ebb in the forward areas just after the airborne operation, the supply situation generally continued to improve.
And this is from WO171/720 - War Diary Q Branch HQ Lines of Communication:
7 September 1944
Tonnages. Landed 3750. DIEPPE discharges start.
Rail. 2000 tons daily to railhead SOUTH of the SEINE wef 11 Sep, to be increased later to 2400. Line DIEPPE – ARRAS expected to be open very soon. By end of Sep expected to be a link across SEINE.
Moves by sea possible for small units to ANTWERP, taking approx 8 days.
Pipeline now just SOUTH of SEINE should cross it in about 8 days.
and from the L OF C AQ NEWS SUMMARY Issue No 1 – 26 Sep 44 (same file reference):
RAIL
1. Stores
(a) Movement of stores out of the RMA has now reached some 3500 tons per day, involving the daily running of ten stores and one warflat train to railheads SOUTH of the SEINE.
(b) NORTH of the SEINE stores movement by rail is in the nature of 7500 – 8000 tons per day. This tonnage to fwd railheads includes that lifted from DIEPPE, LE TREPORT and Rail Tails in the DARETAL area and involves the running of 14 trains daily.
(c) The rail link across the River SEINE is now in operation and an increased volume of traffic will run straight through to railheads from the RMA. Dumping of stores will continue to a lesser degree SOUTH of the SEINE and be carried fwd to loading stations NORTH of the river.
(d) It is anticipated that by the end of Sep some 3500 – 4000 tons per day, involving seven trains, will be worked direct across the SEINE, whilst 1000 – 1500 tons, involving four or five trains, will be dumped SOUTH of the SEINE to be lifted fwd by MT.
Regards

Tom

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 06 Aug 2020 23:21

Thanks, Tom.

Before reconstruction of the Seine bridges, the Americans appear to have trucked from beachhead to the Seine, then put on railway cars:
In order to make the best possible use of
this network while the through lines along
the Seine were being restored, logistical
planners decided to continue the movement of as much tonnage as possible by
truck to the Seine and to transfer supplies
to the railways, which could then carry
them forward to the army areas. Transfer
points were eventually established just
outside Paris, where the cargoes of the Red
Ball convoys were transferred to the railways for movement to the armies. 2
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007 ... _7-2-1.pdf at 552

It appears the British did some beach-rail-ferry-rail operations.

Also noteworthy is that 18,000 men (including PoW's) were working on rail reconstruction in France at the end of August '44. p.551. Here's a summary of what they accomplished:
By mid-September upwards of 3,400
miles of track had been rehabilitated and
more than forty bridges had been rebuilt.
Nearly all of this work was accomplished
after the breakout from St. Lô. 25 By the
end of the month rail lines had been
opened eastward as far as Liége in the
north and Verdun and Toul in the south,
and bridge reconstruction was in progress
at all three places. The rehabilitation of
the railway had therefore proceeded far
beyond what had been planned by that
date.
This progress was reflected in the increasing tonnages forwarded by rail. As of
1 August cumulative rail shipments had
totaled only one million ton-miles. A
month later the total had risen to 12,500,-
000, and by mid-September shipments
were averaging nearly 2,000,000 ton-miles
per day. Beginning with the first driblet
of supplies forwarded via rail east of Paris
on 4 September, the daily tonnages handled beyond the Seine by the middle of
the month averaged 5,000 tons and continued to rise. 26
Der Alte Fritz mentioned upthread the possibility of studying/quantifying the cost of a "Second Otto" behind Barbarossa that might have adequately supported the Ostheer. Perhaps a comparative analysis with the US Army's efforts in France would be interesting to that end. American engineers were no doubt more productive than German - their immensely greater capital endowments alone would have guaranteed that. Maybe by comparing relative pre-war railroad productivity statistics with the outputs of each army's rail reconstruction programs (measured in track miles, bridge construction, etc.) we could say something about Ostheer's relative performance in the East and the feasibility/cost of a hypothetical "Second Otto."


--------------------------------------------------------
The linked book also discusses that the Americans used flashlights, cigarette lighters, and even lit cigarettes as signalling devices during August/September rapid pursuit after breakout from Normandy. Did the Germans use such improvised methods during Barbarossa or Blau? The book mentions one case of a fuel train smashing into another train so safety wasn't assured... Given the Heer-Bahn fights over safety maybe this wasn't something the Germans would have agreed to.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by Solorev » 24 Nov 2020 19:18

Hello! This video contains footage of the construction of the OPTUKHA - BOLKHOV narrow-gauge railway. This is the Oryol region of the Russian Federation.
http://archiv-akh.de/video_files_mp4/M2853_WEB.mp4
Maybe this video also contains footage of the construction of narrow-gauge railways in the bend of the big Don? Feldban I, II, III? Sorry for the translation.

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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Apr 2021 04:43

I've been perusing NARA rolls available for free on John Calvin's server from our Archives section, have come across a few relevant documents.

I'm going to post mostly Google-translated texts transcribed by me from the microfilm documents (I'm learning German in this process but far from conversant). Because many documents have tables, I'll also try to post images of those tables.

If any of our experts could correct my/Google's translation of technical terms, would be greatly appreciated. "Weichen" gets Googled into "switches" (sometimes "points") but probably includes signals? "Oberbaustoff" seems to mean track substrate. There's a distinction between "Befehlsbrucken" and "Kriegsbrucken" that eludes me.

First up is document from T78 R611. As provided on John's server, it lacks frame numbers but starts at the 40th image in his server file. It appears to consist mostly of the appendix to a broader report? The date appears to be cut off in reproduction but from context is likely late-Fall '42. If anyone has access to a better copy of R611, I'd be interested in obtaining it and willing to pay fair compensation. Same goes for rolls 605-610.

---------------------------------------------------------------

The attached list provides a statistical overview of the extent of the destruction of the route found during operations in 1942 (from June 6, 42) and the expenditure on building materials for restoration.

I. Route destruction.
1. General
2) Destruction of the superstructure
a) Extent of destruction
b) Type of destruction
c) Destruction of points
3) Destruction of the bridge

II. Building material requirements
1. General
2) superstructure
3) bridging

III. General overview
1) Average values for km 0-300
2) Average values for the entire occupied railway network

V. Mean values for new operations

------------
End page
--------------------

Appendix to Note for Commanders

I. Route destruction
1. General.

The following tendencies can be seen in the destruction of the lines occupied during the 1942 operations:

a) The extent of the destruction decreases with distance from the starting point of the operation.

b) The destruction of the permanent way on double-track lines is more extensive for each track than on single-track lines.

c) The bridge destruction has the same extent on single-track and double-track lines.

2. Destruction of the superstructure:

a) Dependence of the extent of the destruction on the distance from the starting point of the operation:

Image

b) The type of destruction is very different for single and double track lines. In the mean for single-track lines:
Blasted: 59% of the total destruction
Ripped: 36%
Degraded: 5%

END PAGE

On the other hand, with double-track lines
Blasted: 32% of the total destruction
cracked: 2%
degraded: 66%

This results in the following mean values:

Image

c) The switch (/signals?) destruction is independent of the distance from the starting point of the operations and amounts to:

single-track routes: 31 pieces per 100km route
double track: 98 pieces per 100km
average: 40 pieces per 100 km

According to the establishment of ObRbRat Kreidler, there are 1.47 pieces of switches on 1km of the main track. This results in a percentage destruction in relation to the number of points in total:

for single-track lines: 21%
two-track: 33%
i.e. on average: 27%

3) Destruction of the bridge:
Dependence of the extent of the destruction on the distance from the starting point of the operations:

END PAGE

km 01-100: 470m bridge (every 100km)
km 100-200: 328m
km 200-300: 302m

In the case of double-track lines, these numbers apply to each track.

In the average, the following were reproduced:

as a command bridge: 94% of the destroyed length
as a war bridge: 6%

However, these percentages cannot be generalized, since the installation largely depends on local conditions (large nozzle widths, wide streams) and is decided on a case-by-case basis.

II. Building material requirements

1. General

The numerical values for the building material requirement do not include the reusable building materials or components found at the point of destruction.
The numbers for surface building materials are mean values of all restored.
The information on bridge building materials applies under the following conditions:

mean bridge length = 75.5 m
largest "" = 256.2 m
mean distance S.O. - NW = 7.1 m
(or S.O. - terrain)

2) superstructure

The need for permanent way materials (track and sleepers) depends on the type of destruction.

Image

END PAGE

Image

END PAGE

3) bridging.

To restore a bridge length of 100 m destroyed are required:

Steel support (I-, IF-steel): 103t jet 100m command bridge
Sawn haul: 103 m3 each ""
Driving piles: 56 pieces each ""
Small iron = round steel (bolts, oarlocks), flat steel (brackets, base plates), sheets - steel: 27t per 100m destroyed bridge length

Thus, the need for bridge building materials for the individual route sections of 100 km in length is:

Image

III. General overview

1) Average values for the first 300km (main tracks)

Image

End page 5
Requirements for building materials for a track
Image

2) Average values of the destruction caused by the entire railway network occupied in 1942 (continuous main tracks).

Single-track routes = 4719 km
two-track = 2360 km

Extent of the destruction of a track [correction illegible]

[Table 8]

IV. Comparison with the values estimated for the operations in 1942 (see lecture note Pl.-Abt. Hptm. Klein).

1). Extent of destruction (mean values) for a track
a) in the first 300km:
Image

b) in the entire route network:
[Table 10]

Note, the expected values were too low for switches (/signals?) and bridges, while rail destruction was lower than expected (see table 9 also)

END PAGE 7

Results:

Superstructure

The ratios in Table 10 show that the estimated extent of the destruction was not reached on the track and exceeded on switches. If it is taken into account that important lines (e.g. Valujki-Kondrashevskaya - Millerowo and Lichaja-Stalingrad) were expanded to a larger area and such new lines were built, the extent of destruction that was used as the basis for the provision of material is not assumed to be too high for the track .

Bridges

The actual bridge destruction exceeded the estimated values by 14%. When it comes to the division into command and war bridges, it can be seen that, due to the lack of war bridge equipment, temporary workers had to be found as far as possible by creating command bridges.

2. Requirements for building materials:

a) Building materials in the first 300km.

Basics:
1 km of track = 1,600 sleepers
1km track = 1.47 switches

Image

b) Average values for the entire route network.
Basics of the calculated values:
1km destroyed track = .76km new track (= 76%)

Swell:
for 1km undestroyed track = 1600 pieces (= 100%)
for 1km destroyed track = 1130 pieces (= 71%)

Switches:
for 1km undestroyed track = 1.46 pieces (= 100%)

Image

END PAGE 9

V. Mean values for new operations.

For the first 300km, only the expected building material requirements for the superstructure and bridges are to be determined using the figures in Table 7 as a basis.

In the further course of the route, the following values can be calculated for a track:

Need for:

Superstructure materials:
Track (including small ironware) = 18km per 100km of track = 18%
Sleepers: 26,000 pieces per 100km of track = 16%
Switches: 40 pieces per 100km of track = 27%

Bridge building materials:

Steel girders: 260t per 100km of track
Sawn timber: 260m3 per 100km of track
Driven piles: 150 pieces per 100km of track
Small iron: 70t per 100km of track

Kriegsbrucken: 16m per 100km track
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 16 Apr 2021 05:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Apr 2021 04:52

Next up is short but interesting document comparing '42 to '41 track destruction (by the Soviets). It shows Reds doing much better in '42 than '41 at destroying their track. I'm just going to post the poorly-translated text and the entire (reproduction of the) short report itself.

---------------------------------

Track destruction found in continuous main tracks on all lines occupied in the course of the eastern campaign (from 22.6.41).

I. Operations 1941 (6/22/41 - 6/6/42)

[TABLE 1]

Remarks:
1) In the case of double-track lines, each track is calculated. Distance km equal to half of the given numbers.

2) In the case of double-track lines, the sum of the destruction in both tracks is listed.

END PAGE 1

[Table 2 - 1942. Soviets destroyed more track in '42 than '41 (22.6% vs. 7.3%)]

END PAGE 2

[Table 3 - 41/42 combined]

END PAGE 3

Track destruction in continuous main tracks on all in the course of the Eastern Campaign.

[Table 4]

END PAGE 4

-------------------------------------------

Image


Image


Image


Image
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Apr 2021 04:59

Finally (for now), is a brief note but interesting note from T78 R609 that is the 100th file in John's folder. The preceding frame indicates that it contains remarks from October '41 by an HGS railway man - but the date is cut off on the one-page document so it might just be out of order. It is certainly an excerpt of a larger report.

Again a poor translation by Google plus the dumb kid in German class.

-----------------------------------

6) Building Materials
Track materials and switches are generally obtained by dismantling militarily and economically unimportant routes; special order is issued for this.

Bridges are to be built according to the dimensions of the building; their winter protection is particularly important. When it comes to telecommunications and security systems, it is often necessary to make use of the fully-fledged facilities known from home. The creation of reliable temporary workers in all areas must be the ambition of everyone involved; this is especially true for BW facilities. So s.B. In the case of coaling plants, the mechanical equipment can often be replaced by reckless use of the labor of the local residents. As long as the weather permits, all work must be carried out by all means. Workers, horse-drawn vehicles, narrow-gauge railways that are not used for German military or economic operations must be exploited. In this context, I would like to point out again that the branch offices are not yet exploiting the conquered land to the extent necessary for our tasks (e.g. demand for hauling sleepers from the Hoimst; there are extensive forests and haulage workers of repute in Russia).

Image
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Re: German Railways in the East

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 16 Apr 2021 21:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Jan 2020 07:55
Do you have the ability to dis-aggregate expenditures by individual items such as the cost of signalling, watertowers, warming sheds, etc.?
Der Alte Fritz wrote:
25 Jan 2020 14:57
I will try and answer your questions in order:
4) No figures in published work but I am sure that there is some paperwork in Kreidler archiv in Bundesarchiv. This may be my MA dissertation in which case I will have the time to wade through this uncatalogued archive.
Came across a figure in USSBS for total German spending on "Railroad Safety Equipment." I assume this includes - primarily consists of - railway signals equipment?

Image

By no means does it tell us what an adequate Barbarossa rail program would have cost, but it gives some shape - at least within an order of magnitude - to the signals issue (assuming it includes signals, which seems likely).

Total German sales of safety/signals equipment ranged from RM 27-43mil until 1944 when it plummeted (likely due to losing occupied territories and therefore railways and attendant demand for equipment). On average, safety/signals equipment was 5% of rolling stock sales.

USSBS also gives export figures. Railroad signals/safety equipment exports were negligible in '38-'40, reached RM 2.1mil in 1941, then RM 4.1mil in 1942.

As capital goods sold for use in the SU were likely considered exports (a customs border existed at the GG), this might provide a ceiling of ~RM 4mil for German expenditure in Ostbau '42 on railway safety/signals equipment. Below that ceiling, we could subtract exports to non-Soviet Europe, which appear to have been RM 2mil in 1941. In '42 they might have been lower but, given projects like preparing Balkan railways for Turkish chrome, still substantial. Europe was blockaded so the entire continent probably relied primarily on Germany to maintain its railway infrastructure.

---------------------------------

Upgrading signals infrastructure in occupied SU would seemingly go a long way towards addressing Ostheer logistical issues - at least until the winter. Sufficient trackage and bridges existed to get trains to advanced railheads; the problem (until winter) appears to have been the capacity to manage higher traffic levels.

It seems that, for the double-track lines, this would have been primarily a matter of signals blocks. Yes, sidings matter too and especially for single track lines. On the main double-track lines supporting the Army Groups, however, with bi-directional flow and all/most trains headed to the advanced railheads, I have trouble seeing a need for sidings until those advanced railheads. It limits over-taking but that also seems a minor issue for military operations where the customer demand is for highest throughput rather than, say, a high-ticket passenger express breezing past coal trains.

Even prior to winter, Ostheer's train-traffic problems hampered it in many potentially decisive respects. Earlier drive on Moscow, ammo shortages during big battles like Smolensk, shortfalls of replacement men and material, inability rapidly to shift forces except via road marches, the post-Taifun push on Moscow, etc.

If much/most of those problems could have been fixed for a few million RM, that'd be astounding (and damning of German planning).

(other pre-winter issues like a need for greater unloading capacity, given higher train traffic, were probably resolvable with forced/PoW labor).

TMP bookmark: Railway signals and Barbarossa
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