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German logistics and railroads

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

  1. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    True, but to be correct I think the focus is not so much on the Soviet Railroads as it should be on the lack of Soviet roads. In the supply chain during Barbarossa the worst bottleneck was river crossings for the Wehrmacht in general and the supply columns specifically. The Germans had plenty of bridging equipment but the real problem was the access area to the bridge and exit from it quickly became overused and barley passable (undeveloped, unsurfaced muddy mess with long waits). So even if the rail was more efficient or efficient enough, any offensive beyond Smolensk is going to have a shorter leash than the previous offensive efforts. When Barbarossa began the Germans had an established logistical base to work from (Poland/Prussia/Romania) which made the resupply runs shorter for the supply columns of trucks. In addition and more importantly the Germans had the "handkoffer" which was containerized fuel (Jerry cans, barrels, etc.) which accompanied them as they went and enabled them to advance as far as they did as fast as they did. However, once that was used it could not be replenished far forward in the field and therefore the same type of advance up to that point could not be replicated. Any advance beyond Smolensk required a full reset and replenishment (3 weeks roughly) assuming the rail system would support it and even then it was less capable than the initial operations.
    That is more or less the OTL logistical plan in a nutshell and it was based upon the flawed assumptions on Soviet strength and force generation previously mentioned. If accurate Intel was available could the Wehrmacht have performed better, definately... Does that guarantee an Axis victory? No. Conversely, if the Soviets had accurate Intel the German attack would have been much more costly and not gotten near Moscow (assuming they had about 90 days to prepare).
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Learn to read and understand and apply logic. Nowhere is it stated that defeat was an anomaly or that they had to win. You on the other hand apparently need strawmen such as this to have any chance of "winning" a debate.

    What BS. If the Germans didn't lose why were the Soviets in Berlin? Indeed how could the Soviets win without the Germans loseing? The Soviets did what they had to do to win. Could they have done it better? Probably but usually discussions aren't involved with how the winning side could have won more conclusivly unless of course their victroy was partial.

    Strawman after strawman. Will it never stop.


    ??? Do you have any idea how incoherent you are?
     
  3. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Why cant it be both, the Germans failed and the Soviets won. Its absurd to argue that only one side had an influence on the victory by the Soviets. Here is evidence that the failure to capture the rail lines and trains had an impact on German strategy. The Germans planned to reach Astrakhan by the end of fall. The only way the Germans could have achieved that is by having an intact rail line to supply the troops.
     
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  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The failure to capture the rail trains and lines had an impacy on the second German strategy,after the failure of the first German strategy,which was decisive .



    The Germans planned to win the war during the border battles,which would result in a collaps of the Soviet state .In the border battles,the importance of the railways was marginal ,because the Germans were near to their supply depots .

    In the second phase,the importance of the railways was bigger,but,never decisive :it is not so that if the Germans had an intact rail line to supply the troops,they could have reached the AA line : . I like to see the proofs that they did not have an intact rail line in the autumn .

    The only way the Germans could have reached the AA line before the winter,was if the SU was defeated,and,it was not,not in the summer,not in the winter .

    During the autumn,the Germans were able to supply the Ostheer with what was needed,and,they were going to Moscow.

    During the winter,the Germans were abe to supply the Ostheer with what was needed:the Germans stopped the Soviet offensive and survived the winter .

    It is NOT so that in september 1941 enormous amounts of supplies and men were waiting in Gemany to be transported to the east,it is not so that this was blocked by the situation of the railways,and,it is not so that if these men an supplies were transported to the east,the SU would be defeated .

    Arguing as this is arguing that the GERMANS lost,because German flaws,bad plans,bad intelligence,German failure to capture the railways,etc : NO,the Soviets won ,because everything depended on the Soviets . the potential Soviet superiority was that enormous that,excepted for a miracle (the proverbial deus ex machina) the Germans had no chance .

    The following is from the conclusion of "the creation of the Soviet reserves and the 1941 campaign" by L.Rotundo;

    "Soviet reserves.......... remained large enough to intervene decisively at several critical moments in the 1941 campaign ."

    "Hitler demanded a quick destruction of theRed Army.He assumed an initial superiority or,at least,equality with existing Soviet forces .However,throughout the invasion Planning,the German margin of strength remained precariously thin.BY 22 june 1941,it had disappeared entirely"
     
  5. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I have repeatedly stated that I am not saying the Germans lost because of the railroads, I am saying that the German army was just as responsible as Hitler for bad planning and decision making. The fact that the German army only planned for a quick campaign with out the possibility of it being longer is as much their fault. I am using the example of how the German army planned on capturing the railroads intact as how they avoided asking difficult questions and made no contingencies in case their plans did not go perfectly.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this : Barbarossa was a joint responsability of Adolf and the generals,but I continue to disagree with some posts of members who still are giving the "bad" planning an importance which it did not have: the "bad" planning was the only way to succeed ,it was a conditio sine qua non .
    And ,here I am disagreeing with your last sentence :
    1) The Germans avoided asking difficult questions : yes ,and deliberatedly

    2)They made no contingencies in case their plans did no go perfectly : yes,deliberatedly,because contingencies were not possible .the whole plan depended on a deus ex machina,who would save them from defeat,and,they knew it.Why were they making a plan depending on a deus ex machina ? Because they were stupid ? No :because they were convinced (rightfully) that it was the only possibility .That's why they made no contingencies:contingencies were not possible .

    Only planning for a quick campaign without the possibility of it being longer is not a fault,as only a quick campaign could be succesful.

    Meanwhile,they were pepping up each other,Adolf,the first,as usual :One kick on the door will be sufficient,and the whole rotten structure will collaps (deus ex machina).But,they all knew they had the possibility for only one kick,thus,it had to be sufficient .


    And,when the kick on the door failed to produce the expected collaps of the rotten structure,Adolf collapsed (25 july) and tried to conjure up an other deus ex machina : the arrival of the fire brigade of Tokyo .
     
  7. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    But bad planning did have an effect because the goals did not mesh with capacity and the German army was not able to make adjustments because it believed its assumptions were right. Von Bock convinced Hitler that the Soviet army was about to collapse and that one more push, despite the fact winter was beginning, would result in the fall of Moscow. How many soldiers died because of that belief.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    LJAd, with respect, your argument Russia prevailed because they had greater manpower/space/industry and no other reason is as narrow minded as you claim others are taking in the Germany had a bad plan/logistics/leader lobby. The factors leading to the result we know are far more complex than that and have to do with German actions/limitations/possibilities, Soviet actions/limitations/possibilities and the effects of outside factor's like Western Lend-Lease and military action, and yes even the weather.

    It is utterly impossible to claim only one factor, German/Soviet/otherwise was The Reason.

    Nor am I convinced that Germany did a great deal of soul-searching and then decided that one swift kick as their only viable action. The answer is much simpler I think.

    Any competitive organization, be it sports, business or military tend to go with what they know, especially if that pattern works for them. There are also enough examples where they keep doing the same thing even when they repeatedly find themselves in the bottom of the standings.

    Germany employed "Blitzkrieg" against Poland, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Anglo-French, Yugoslav's and Greeks. They would have used it against the Czech's had they fought and tried to improvise one against Britain in Operation Sealion when the English stubbornly refused to see reason. Why exactly would they embrace another game plan when they had one that worked?

    I have no wish to dive into a what-if, but I have never accepted the notion that Germany was destined to be crushed by Russia simply because it was so big and had so many cannon fodder to send to the front. It did not work for Russia in WWI did it? History is filled with examples of weaker parties prevailing over stronger ones.

    Russia's numbers and size made a German failure likely, even probable, but by no means inevitable.
     
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  9. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    Maybe you meant Norway. Germany did not attack Finland, and when the war broke out in September 1944 between former co-bellingerents Germany was withdrawing.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Halder would disagree with you : in his diary of 27 november 1941 he wrote the following (the source is Stahel) :

    "The daunting scope of commitments around Europe suggests a limitation of the operations in the east to the first operational objective (=the Dnepr-Dvina line),starting from there,one could attempt envelopping operations,but in the endless expanse of space,this would have no prospect of success."

    Halder is here clearly saying that,if the Red Army was not definitively defeated west of the D/D line,it would be impossible to eliminate it east of the DD line .

    Hitler and Brauchitz agreed with this,and the German strategy was based upon this conviction .Already in the summer of 1941,a German victory was impossible .

    About the ineluctable German defeat after july 1941:1941 was the best year for the Germans,and,yet,3.6 million Germans failed to defeat 9 million Soviets ;in 1942,4 million Germans fighting against 12 million Sovjets,were forced to remain in defence;in 1943,4 million Germans were repelled by 12 million Soviets,etc.
    Since 60 years,we have seen a lot of claims that a German victory was possible,even after the summer of 1941,and they all have been proved to be illusions,.wishful-thinking .

    And,since 60 years,we have seen a lot of claims that a German defeat after the summer of 1941 was not ineluctable,and,all of them have been proved to be illusions,wishful-thinking .

    The OTL proved that a German victory was excluded and that a German defeat was ineluctable .In the OTL,143 German divisions were not able to eliminate the Soviet Army in 1941.After 1941,the Ostheer was decreasing and the Red Army was increasing :defeat was ineluctable .

    About the weather : in 1941,the Germans failed in the summer and in the autumn,the Soviets failed in the winter of 1941/42. In 1942,the Germans failed in the summer,and were deafeted in the winter of 42/43.

    About WWI: after 3 years of war,Russia was not defeated,it still was fighting,and a German victory was wishful-thinking. But,suddenly,it was over,the Russians all were going home,and the Civil War started .

    This was what Rastenburg was hoping :suddenly,they all would go home,and Civil War number II would start .
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I did, thank you for the correction and the like.
     
  12. arca

    arca Member

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    LJAd
    I think Halder from 41 isn't the smartest guy around here, because we have complete picture of both armies and the hindsight on what was really happening.

    In WW1 Russia was on the verge of collapse, it's feudal economy crumbeling under the weight of almost 4 years of most expencive war in it's history.
     
  13. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    Why not just use captured Russian Trains and Train cars inorder to save them time in replacing the whole rail way and trains?
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Because of the break in guage...German trains would arrive at one city, have to be unloaded, the goods transported to the closest Soviet standard gauge railway, reloaded, and sent on their way. It would not take long before such a system would build up a sizable backlog.

    Also, most Soviet railways were single track with few sidings. Which would greatly reduce the number of trains travelling in opposite directions.
     
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  15. Etanker

    Etanker New Member

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    But wouldn’t it make sence to use the captured Russian Rail ways and engians while they were replacing/ improving. I feel like it would make more sence if they would use them so they could be transporting supplies. It would be a lot more sympler then replacing everything?
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member

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    They did that too... In other words they did everything they could. The Germans were quite efficient in their desperation. They still lost.
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    From late 1939 to June 1941, when the non-aggression and trade pacts were in effect, large volumes of material were shipped from Russian to Germany, and smaller amounts in the reverse direction. How was the change in gauge managed then? Were any specific transloading facilities created?

    For that matter, there must have been some amount of cross-border trade in normal times.

    Where exactly was the break in gauge? Most of Poland had belonged to Russia from the 1790s through WWI, so presumably railroads there were of Russian gauge. Was the break somewhere in the new Poland? Did the Poles work on standardizing gauge in the interwar period? Did they convert to German/western standard gauge? Did the Germans make changes or improvements to the rail system during their occupation? That might have hinted to the Soviets what their future plans might be....
     
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  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    No doubt they made use of whatever rolling stock they were able to capture in working order to move goods within occupied Russian territory, but their top priority would have to be converting the main lines to standard gauge. One lucky break - conversion meant narrowing the gauge by 85mm so the existing ties and trackbed could be used with minimal modification.
     
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  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think it's mentioned earlier in this thread but there are a couple of really good threads on this topic over on the axis history forum.

    From what I recall there were track bead issues as well due to the different usage practices. The Soviets tended to run the trains at significantly lower speeds (and possibly lower weights) so the beds didn't have to be as good. I'm pretty sure the thread(s) mentioned above went into this in some detail.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Germany constructed two railroad yards, one at Malaszevica(Brest-Litovsk) and the other at Przemsyl to handle the gauge conversion.

    Your forgetting that Germany and Austria occupied said Polish territory during WW1, and during the war they converted the Soviet/Polish wide gauge railroad to European standard gauge, not to mention laying several new lines. Then, when WW1 was over and the new Polish state was created, Poland was given some 4,200 German & Austrian steam locomotives as well as a good bit of rolling stock under Article 371 of the Versailles Treaty, so they kept the European Standard Gauge.

    Oh, most certainly they did...It was called the Otto Program and began in October, 1940. in 1939, an average of 84 trains a day traveled East, by June, 1941, this had risen to 220 trains a day. The Germans used camouflage and deception so as not to alert the Soviets to this great increase in military train traffic - such as running military trains in civilian paint schemes.
     
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