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German logistics and railroads

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by steverodgers801, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I am reading a great book Stahel; Operation Barbarossa and he mentions something about the German plans for the Soviet rail line. The first is the Germans just assumed they would capture the lines and trains intact. When that didn't happen the problem was not just converting the lines to the narrow gage, but Soviet engines were larger and had a longer range and so the Germans had also to build new stations for repair, coal and water. This need to build new stations is one of the reasons for the difficulty in transporting supplies. The second is Hitler had neglected the rail system and there was a shortage of engines and the track system needed major over hauling.
     
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  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    A good source is :the German state railways in the war in the east ,on Feldgrau
    One caveat about Stahel:IMHO,he gives to much importance on the railway problems:the Germans assumed that,after the Soviet defeat in the summer,the whole rail infrastructure would be captured intact,but,as the Red Army was not defeated,....their assumption was irrelevant .

    About the situation of the Reichsbahn:

    Normal gauge:

    steamlocs:26076

    diesellocs: 1

    electronic locs: 866

    Waggons

    passengerwaggons :270000

    merchandise waggons:74000 gepäckwaggons and 250000 güterwaggons

    Small gauge:

    405 steam locs

    18 electronic locs

    passenger waggons :5000

    gepäckwaggons :5000

    güter waggons :360000

    Bahndienstwagen (service waggons) are not included

    All rough figures

    Situation on 31 december 1940

    Source :

    Fahrzeugbestand der Reichsbahn

    hs-merseburg.de/-nosske/Epochell/dd/e2d_4703.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I would argue that rather than being irrelevant it was critical. If you climb a tall ladder and assume that it will hold you while you work at the top of it and it doesn't the fact that it failed is far from irrelevant to you predicament. Indeed it is why a new plan is called for.
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Well,this is implying that with "better railways" the Germans could have won in the summer,and,IMHO,this is wrong :it is neglecting the Soviet side of the war,a mistake people in western europe/US still are making :if the Germans failed,it was not because of logistics/transport problems ,it was because of the Soviets.

    The whole chance for a succesful Barbarossa depended on the assumption that the Soviet Union was weak,,and,as this was wrong,the Germans failed:they had no chance at all.
    Better railways would change nothing ..
    Making the Germans stronger would not mean that the Soviets would be weaker .
    Btw:the German logistics were not that bad.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not at all. Indeed if Hitler's kick in the door and it will all fall down theory had been accurate it would have been irrelevant because the Soviets would have collapsed prior to August. When that failed to happen the logistical situation became a severe handycap. What would have happened had they had an adequate logisitcal train is an open question.

    In reference to your point about "neglecting the Soviet side of the war" I can only answer not really. Indeed didn't the logistics plan fail in large part due to Soviet efforts? The removed what rolling stock they could, destroyed as much of it and the rail system as they could and then partizans continued to attack it even after it was nominally in German territory. IMO the two are very much sides of the same coin. Soviet resistance affected both the logistic framework and the amount of material it had to transport both in directions that made it harder on the Germans. To say it was all one or the other is to make the same mistake no matter which side you are on.


    No chance? I would hardlly go that far. Of course it depends on how much you are willing to stray into what if territory. A better German log system would certainly have changed things. Probably not enough for the Germans to win but it would certainly have made victory more expensive for the Soviets possibly even so expensive it would have been western troops taking Berlin.
    As for making the Germans stronger not making the Soviets weaker what matters in warfare is relative strengths and making one side stronger is the functional equivalant of making the other side weaker. From what I've read of the German logistics effort your final line is off the mark as well as long as you are talking post August of 41 and the later the more it's off.
     
  6. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The German plan was based on victory in six to 8 weeks, the assumptions for that timeline were grossly flawed, so yes there was no chance.
     
  7. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Indeed! Paulus' exercise from December 1940 demonstrated beyond any doubt that collapse of the blitzkrieg method of warfare was only a matter of time after the eastern campaign began.
     
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  8. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Isn't it going a little far to imply that Soviet victory was innevitable? I'm no expert on the "Great Patriotic War" aspect of World War II, but the Soviet leadership surely didn't behave as if the Germans had no chance and at least from the outside it looks like it was a rather near run thing at times. I'd be willing to agree that "blitzkrieg" was probably bound to bog down sooner or later, but under different circumstances might not the Germans have had the capacity to fight a long continental war? Population and terrain were on the side of the Soviets, but German industry should have been able to compensate, particularly absent the problems of a two front war and substantial Western industrial support. While the Soviets could probably have continued to raise two riflemen to every one the Germans could come up with I doubt the same could be said of tanks. Petrochemicals would have been a problem, but earlier and more effective German rationing could help with that. And a coal fired logistical train (no pun intended, though the accident is noted) would also help considerably if Germany can solve the foreign-road/broad-gage problem.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Germans planned to defeat the SU ina short and quick campaign (call it Blitzkrieg,or give it an other name).
    Why ? Because the knew that they had no chance in a long war ,,such war would be a war of attrition..
    If one is looking at the post Barbarossa period(=post august 1941),than,one will see first a worsening of the German offensive capacities (Typhoon was only a pale reflection of Barbarossa,and Fall Blau was almost insignifiant,both failed after a few days) and than,a worsening of the German defensive capacities ::after (not because) Citadelle,the German retreat started,although the Germans had more tanks and StuG after Citadelle than at Citadelle .
    The Russian steamroller was advancing,nothing could stop him.
    One exemple :at the end of 1942,the Soviets had 36000 field and coastal guns,a year later :48000 guns .
     
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  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About the German logistics after august 1941:they did what was possible(one can not reproach them not to do what was impossible):the Ostheer survived the winter of 1941/1942 with minimal frostbite losses,,which means that the Germans succeeded to supply some 4 million men during the winter:not bad.
    After 1941,they succeeded to supply the Ostheer,till the end .
     
  11. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    LJAD, I don't know now how to salute a post but, I guess this would be good enough: :S!

    Despite all initial failures Soviets have won and despite all initial successes Nazis have lost. Doesn't this look suspicious?

    There is, however, no paradox in this; just our view on this subject was distorted over the past decades, deliberately or unintentionally.

    The truth is, however, that Nazis have 'won' and lost the war in the first six months. The rest was an unnecessary prolongation of the imminent defeat against the 'inferior' enemy. The truth is that the 'Red Terror' has transformed a backward Tzarist Russia into a capable state. That was an inconvenient truth, but Nazi generals in their memoirs have offered much 'better' reality. But this is yet another story: a postwar propaganda.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The only chance for the Germans to win was in the summer of 1941,while they were close to their supply depots and had good weather.And,they failed . Why? After these 10 weeks,there was an other Soviet army on the front,stopping the Germans and counter attacking..
    Everything had been in vain:the loss of 400000 men,of 1000 tanks,of 2000 anti tank guns,,of 11000 MG,of 25000 trucks and cars,of more than 130000 horses,of etc,etc....
     
  13. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    This is interesting: Brauchitsch and Jammamoto had just 6 months of success in front of them. The only difference is that Yammamoto knew that.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    after the war,the Germans were looking for scape-goats (as every one is doing after a defeat): who was the culprit ?Halder (working in the historical division of the US Army) was giving the order:let's blame:

    Adolf was a good candidate ,but,there were also :the Siberian divisions,the countless (of course) T 34 tanks,the weather (very cold on the German side, ..only),Britain and the US(without Ultra and LL,the Germans would have defeated the inferior Soviets),flattering the naive Americans was always helpful,the railways:the Germans had to change the Soviet railways to the German gauge ( of course,they "forgot" that the Soviets had to do the same when they were advancing ).
     
  15. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    For soviets was even worse because the retreating Nazis have wrecked the rail beds and all bridges too.

    By the way, the basis for this railway theory is a 'recently declassified report written by German supply officer named Werner Bodenstein'. which is cited without any refference to reliable sources, again.
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Bodenstein :found him,and,as I suspected,this gentleman was during the war at the general staff (never saw any fighting),after the war,he was one of the Halder Boys at the historical division (you know,the blaming brigade),and later ,he was sneaking and ellbowing to get a job at Nato,where he meeted the other veterans..... of the Historical division .
     
  17. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I do believe the Soviets could have lost the war, the biggest reason would have been Stalin throwing his troops away as he did in 1941. The point is more that the Germans were incapable of winning the way they planned. They assumed too many things would go perfectly for them and that the Soviets only had about a third of the troops they did and that they would be incapable of replacing them.
     
  18. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Indeed Steve:

    “History has shown there are no invincible armies.” - Joseph Stalin

    ... but Nazis had very poor chances to proove that rule. ;)
     
  19. massarosa

    massarosa New Member

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    Probably one of the weakest spot in the plan for "Operation Barbarossa" was the logistics. First of all questions like logistics and intelligence (for example about the strenght of a foreign army, industry and geography) were neglected inside the German High Command (OKH and OKW); secondly the whole "Operation Barbarossa" seems a great game of chance. In URSS the weather complicated everything, both in winter and in autumn (sometimes also in spring); the rail gauge was larger than in west and central Europe; the roads were few and bad and, finally, the distances were enormous. All these things complicated the German concept of "Blitzkrieg" and it was simply impossible for the workers of "Todt Organization" (with the duty to repair and built roads, bridge and railways) to follow the advance of the German troops. Consequently, after few weeks begun problems of supplies for front units and, already in summer, some Panzerdivisionen must stop their advance due to lack of oil and spare parts. If the German forces managed to come at the gates of Moscow in 1941 was only for their operative skills, better training and the disorganizzation inside the Soviet Red Army...
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    This is more than questionable :

    intelligence:the Germans knew that their only chance was if the SU was weak,if the SU was strong,it was over .Thus,they assumed that the SU was weak?What was the utility to know that the SU was strong ?

    weather :the Germans knew what the weather was in the autumn and the winter,but,this was irrelevant,they planned to win in the summer,afterwards,this would be impossible .

    the railway gauge :as far as I know,the railway troops did a good job .and,I have to see the proofs that several PzD were blocked because of lack of oil and spare parts and, I doubt the importance of this ..

    The German logistics were what they were :not perfect,,but,it was impossible to do better
     

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