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Hitler invades the Soviet Union in 1940

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by DerGiLLster, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. green slime

    green slime Member

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    German losses 1939 - Nov 1944:

    [​IMG]

    Spread out over the nearly two years prior to Barbarossa, German manpower losses, especially when compared to what they had achieved, really was minimal. Attempting to invade the USSR, was a fundamental game changer.
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Because if there was no underestimation, that would not give the Germans even ONE tank of aircraft more . No underestimation would not benefit the Germans .
    In the OTL,the 150 German divisions failed to defeat the Red Army in the summer .

    In the ATL (1940 ) there would be no 150 German divisions available ,but less ,and only 10 PzD and not 17 as in 1941 .

    Besides, what was cooking the German goose in 1941, was not the number of Soviet tanks,aircraft and existing divisions :these were quickly eliminated, but the ability of the regime to mobilise very quickly millions of reservists and to send them to the front (a monthly average of 1 million ) . The Germans knew that if this was possible, they would lose, but they gambled that the Soviet regime would collaps in the first weeks of the war . Their gamble was wrong .
     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The advances were irrelevant for the outcome of the campaign : in the OTL (1941) it was planned to defeat the SU in the region between the border and the D-D line (Dwina-Dnjepr);it would have been the same in the ATL (1940) .After these battles, the Germans would advance to the A-A line by train (as in 1918).One can even argue that,if the panzer had to advance to Moscow, the war was lost,because it means that the original plan failed ,and there was no substitution for the original plan : the original plan was the only one that could give Germany a chance of success (a very small one ,because everything depended on the Soviets ) .
     
  4. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    The win did make the Soviets look incompetent and as a result, this should have been a chance to invade. So one man was at fault for the Finnish campaign? I wonder why the Soviets didn't do better than the Germans.

    What leadership and tactics did the Red Army have? I guess by not comparing to the already dead thousands of officers, then yes they sure had better leadership and tactics than anyone else in Russia.

    I only quoted him for the airplane numbers. I do not like Glantz, he believes that the winter and weather conditions did not affect much of the German Army. The rainy weather sure slowed advances to a couple miles a day. The when the weather came it was responsible for rendering a great portion of weapons and guns inoperable in the Wehrmacht. The Soviets didn't have this problem as they designed their weapons to be better resistant to the cold than the German weapons. IIRC around 150,000 cases of frostbite occurred in Wehrmacht. I do use his sources but but check to make sure everything is consistent. He is a good historian but not a master IMO.

    Why would attacking one year earlier be considered the same as attacking another year later? Sorry but doesn't seem to make sense to me.
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    You are falling in the trap of the goose-steppers who said that it was cold on the German side and warm on the Russian side .The truth is that the weather had no influence on the outcome of Barbarossa :the Germans failed in the summer,the Soviets failed in the winter : there was no German offensive in the winter, but a Soviet one .

    The use of the 150000 cases of frostbite is an old trick that proves nothing : 150000 = 4 % of the number of Germans who fought during the winter in the SU .It proves only that 95 % of the Germans had no frostbite and that the explanation is a ) the winter was not that harsh b ) 95 % of the Germans had winterclothing c) all Germans had winterclothing,because winterclothing does not prevent frostbite but limits frostbite d ) a combination of a,b, c.

    The rainy weather did NOT slow advances to a few miles a day, unless you can prove that there WERE advances during this period;the whole thing is also meaningless because I can say with the same justification that the summer weather STOPPED the German advance : the German advance was stopped in august .

    Weather does not stop an advance : the enemy stops the advance .
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Soviets DID better than the Germans : they goose-stepped in Berlin, the Germans did not goose-step in Moscow .
     
  7. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    -Oh the infantry, yes they certainly played a role and that also brings one of my points further. In 1941, mass production started of the anti-tank PTRS-41 rifle and the PPsh-41 sub-machine gun. Both were great weapons serving the Soviets well. IIRC the PPsh-41 was demanded into design, and production due to the Winter War since the need for mass produced sub-machine guns were needed, better than the labor intensive PPD-40. A huge amount of the PPDS were produced in 1940, right after the winter war. Considering there will be less tanks, less planes, and less infantry with more modern weapons, along with more German tanks, planes and soldiers than advancement will occur faster Well having less tanks to face does allow the other tanks to focus more on infantry.

    -Less planes mean less ammo used up, so the other ammo will also prove of help for attacking infantry.

    -So having less of tanks to deal with is irrelevant for extra planes and tanks to deal with the infantry of the Red Army.

    -The Soviet High Command did meet up in April 1940 to reform these measures, so if anything they were preparing for a more efficient way of mobilization.

    -In Soviet Heavy Tanks by Steven Zaloga, he talks of how a German advance helped stop an advance. Also I never said the T-34s and KV tanks played the only role in the advance they played factors along with the other factors of the Red Army having more soldiers, tanks, planes. If the Germans wanted to supply better than they should reduce their force of the Kreigsmarine to that of tactical one. It was foolish to even try to compete with the Royal Navy since they had missed more than a decade of shipbuilding and training for the Navy along with having most of their ships stripped.

    -Supplying a million troops stationed in France and Norway along with there being a campaign on a lesser scale, but still significant and taking some resources is minimal?

    -The Germans could devote more resources to trucks for the summer advancement along with supplying by air for the Battle of Moscow, in order to prepare for the amount of resistance the Germans could face. The reducing of the Kriegsmarine allows more planes and the oil to fuel them helpful in aiding the logistics, it does not solve it completely, but it helps somewhat.
     
  8. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Yes, but that was because they failed to to defeat Russia in time. Also they did lose a huge amount of planes, tanks and oil for the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Maybe those losses were minimal because they did not invade Britain, but they sure could have used those extra planes for supplying armies and attacking the enemy. An advance by a few weeks can make the difference between a successful defense of a city and one that falls to the enemy. If they were not tied up in maintaining the West, and fighting the British in the Atlantic and in North Africa, then they would have had more resources to break the Soviet Union.
     
  9. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I'm sorry I don't understand your first point, no underestimation would benefit the Germans?

    They had around 150 divisions when facing France, Norway, Denmark and the Low Countries. Also, they had split more of their panzer divsions in 1941, so in 1940 it was not that big of a difference. By focusing on the land force and not on the navy as competing with the Royal Navy was a foolhardy thing to do. They would have been able to produce more guns, planes and tanks. Also The Soviets had less arms than in 1940, so there would be even fewer armed troops.

    Well than in that case Hitler gambled too late, if he had gambled much earlier and bet France would do nothing, then Russia would probably be defeated. The fifteen months were enough to hold back the Germans for their advances and for getting to Moscow so close.
     
  10. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Well the Germans could have many more reserves which would mean less tired troops and much faster advances. Over a million occupied France, Norway and North Africa. The Germans were too greedy and should have focused on Moscow to cut off communications.
     
  11. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    -So I guess that rain and a sunny day must be the same to you.

    -Did you also catch about where the weapons were freezing and the vehicles had their oil goo up? I never said the frostbite affected them alone. It affects them along with the fact that many vehicles couldn't run and guns couldn't fire.

    -Rainy weather does not slow down an advance, you say?. There have been heavy rains around my area recently. I suppose if I drive my car in the mud riddled with water, it will drive and accelerate just as fine as the dry dirt road.

    -You're right. Weather doesn't stop an advance. And if weather doesn't stop an advance why don't you trying swimming in the winter too! I mean weather can't stop us from having fun right...
     
  12. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    I am talking about the initial phase during Barbarossa, not the rest of the war.
     
  13. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The Soviet army was in the middle of reequipping in 1941, they would had large numbers of their tanks in a state of disrepair which would not have been the case in 1940. Their former border defenses would still be intact instead of stripped for the new ones being built and the Germans had almost a year to prepare their logistics for an invasion which was not the case. Finally the Germans received a lot of resources from the soviets that they used to help stock pile for the invasion a year later.
     
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  14. green slime

    green slime Member

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    With the loss of basically the entirety of peace time forces of the Red Army within 6 months of the start of the campaign, any imaginary gain in individual weapon systems is purely fictional.

    The halts taken were desperately needed to resupply, due to Soviet resistance, not due to the weather. Panzer divisions halt to restock on munitions and POL; you do not want to be facing the enemy with immobile tanks.

    21. ID used 793 tons of ammunition in combat in 12 days (15-27.07.41) - source is the divisional history. IOW Daily use of 66 tons of ammunition for a period of moderately intense combat. It lost 36 officers and 835 men KIA/WIA/MIA in that period.

    Normally, an active German infantry division would include over 5,000 horses and almost 950 motor vehicles. A division of this size would need 53 tons of hay and oats, 54 tons of food, 20 tons of petrol, one ton of lubricants, ten tons of ordinance and another 12 tons of miscellaneous supplies plus ammunition and baggage (approx 150 tons total per day). So the 21st ID was consuming at least 200 tons per day.

    By comparison, the DAK panzer division required 350 tons per day on average.

    Supply requirement for a German armored division is given as 30 tons per day when inactive and 700 tons a day when in heavy fighting (300 is generally given as the average). German Infantry divisions required 80 tons per day when inactive (Horses and men still need to eat).

    Keeping 50 divisions in the West in garrison duties in places such as Carentan, Calais, Paris & Trondheim in supply along well-established and functional railways is simple, compared to getting food, munitions and POL to units fighting in the field in Russia. Especially when the occupied are paying for the privilege. If France is not invaded, with the growing strength of the Western allies in Europe, the Germans would've needed to allocate 50 divisions in western Germany at least to keep the 150 western allied divisions at least minimally passive. And in this case, they are forced to bivouac on German ground, paid for entirely by Germany, with an economy ruined and unable to pay.


    What stopped the Germans in 1941, when they had operated and fought on the Eastern front in 1914-1918? Was the mud suddenly more muddy in the 1940's? Was the cold suddenly more harmful to artillery pieces and personal arms? The rifles and artillery needed the same care and attention they had then.

    Winter weather presents its own unique challenges for the shooter. As the mercury dives below zero, actions can seize, powders and primers cease to operate effectively and wood can splinter. Military forces around the world have known this since before the first modern rifles were even conceived, where wind and ice swung the tide of war for such luminaries as Napoleon, Peter the Great and George Washington. Before the advent of the percussion cap, alpine and arctic campaigns routinely experienced misfire rates over 30 percent due to the effects of cold.
    http://www.chuckhawks.com/firearms_cold_weather.htm

    What the issue is, is the rapid expansion of the German Wehrmacht, had left it wanting in certain areas of training... as well as the logistical logjams in the East. When everybody believes the fairytale of "It'll all be over by Xmas!" Then nobody really cares to hear about winter prep.

    And with the option of halting the attack, training and supplying everyone properly for the weather, or "just one last lunge and she'll be right matey...I hope" Nazis went for the last lunge, because their entire strategy was based on ending the war. If the fighting didn't end, it was over for Germany.

    If the aggressor has not adequately prepared to face the environmental problems he knows he will face, then he just plain sucks, and cannot blame his defeat on semi-annual events, such as winter, or mud. It's like invading Iraq, failing, and blaming it on the sand.
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    This is a wrong argument :if there was no war with France and Britain, very big Germans forces would still be tied on the German western border : the Germans could not take the risk to leave their western border undefended .
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    You have first to prove that there was a German advance in that period, if there was one ,it means that the Soviets were defeated and if they were defeated, who could stop the Germans ?

    BTW:there was a German advance and the Germans were stopped not by the weather but by the Soviets who had recovered .

    The weather does not stop an advance, it can only delay/slow down an advance,but an advance that is slowed down is still an advance .

    After the war the German generals claimed that Moscow was saved by general winter and general mud;these claims are ridiculous ,they are only the usual attempts of defeated generals to look for an excuse /scape-goat for their defeat . And this is done by all sides, also by the Allies and the Soviets .
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Proof that the Germans could have more reserves ? Afaics,almost all combat able German forces were committed for Barbarossa = 152 of 208 divisions .

    Proof that more reserves would mean a faster advance ? I can easily argue the opposite = that more forces for Barbarossa would mean a slower advance as it would be impossible to supply these forces .
     
  18. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure they had around 98 divisions available when they invaded France
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The OP requested that I read the monograph on which this discussion is based (found in post 1) and offer my thoughts on it. First I am flattered that he values my opinion even though there are others better versed on the War in the East than me. I consider myself a generalist in that I claim no expertise in any one area, but rather one who looks at the entire conflict in the macro scale. My comments are based on those limitations and they also are not a direct comment on the discussion to this point, but rather a critique of the merits and flaws of the monograph itself.

    I think it would be best to begin with a short summary of what I took the monographs author tried to set forth in his argument.

    In a nutshell the author's opinion was that Germany missed it best opportunity to defeat the Soviet Union by not attacking in 1940 as opposed to enacting Case Yellow against the Anglo-French concentration. The author states that the balance of forces between Germany and the SU would never be better than the spring-summer of 1940, that the Soviet system for rapid expansion of reservists was at its infancy, and that closer to officer purges of the 1930's, the officer corps were in a greater state of discombobulation. Most importantly, seen from the Soviet perspective, the Red Army was considerably smaller due to the early stages of it's mobilization.

    There were advantages on the German side also asserts the author. Greater supplies of spare/replacement parts and manpower due to no shortages created by Case Yellow. No Balkan Distraction and a absence of command dysfunction due to 'overconfidence' created by victories in the west. A more prudent planning that better incorporated generally accepted precepts for executing combat operations.

    In conclusion the author offers a opinion on how the actual campaign would be executed. In it the assault would be reduced to two Army Groups and a blocking force. Army Group South (AGS) would sweep first southeast then east around the Pripet Marshes and Army Group Center (AGC) would strike due east on a line of Minsk-Smolensk toward Moscow. To this point this is no difference to the 1941 plan, but Army Group North (AGN) would be reduced to a 'blocking force' to protect AGC's left flank. At some point the two Army Groups would converge and destroy the Soviet armies allowing the capture of Moscow and the conclusion of the war. This would then free up the Wehrmacht to redeploy and turn on the Anglo-French in 1941.


    The observations on the Soviet Union are in general correct so far as i know, but as for Germany i have serious questions.

    While the Red Army was weaker overall, Axis forces are also weaker. First consider the Axis allied forces. For Finland after the Winter War the spirit may be willing, but the flesh would be very weak. A late spring-early summer 1940 attack on Russia would give Finland scant weeks to prepare and the German naval blockade during the Winter War would still pack a sting with the Finn's. Bottom line Germany needed the 15 months a 1941 attack provided to mend fences and help the Finn's to rearm. No serious threat from Finland free's troops there for redeployment.

    Hungary did not join the Tripartite Pact until November 1940, and then under political pressure from Germany. This of course is well after the projected start date for a 1940 invasion of Russia. Romania also joined the Tripartite Pact in November 1940, and The Soviet Union's bullying of Romania to cede territory did not occur til July of 1940 which would also be after any likely German 1940 attack. It is highly improbable either nation would be ready, or willing, to join Germany at the start date for a 1940 invasion. This becomes a issue, but i'm getting ahead of myself.

    In the case of Italy, her absence is almost surely a net gain for Germany in any respect.

    The author views the Balkan Crisis as a good reason for pushing up Operation Barbarossa. The lost 6 weeks being critical in the authors mind. This is a flawed conclusion for two reasons, first because not all of these lost weeks would be suitable for Blitzkrieg tactics due to a wet spring. More to the point the author seems to discount events outside his narrow focus. There was a spring 1940 'Balkan Crisis' in the Altmark Incident which triggered German deployments to Denmark and Norway. While smaller in size, so is the Wehrmacht at this time, so the proportions are very similar. Worse there would be no 'allies' to aid in the attack or take over occupation duties.

    The number of Division's or equivalents available in the spring of 1940 varies depending on the source and how you count them. It is generally accepted that 100 to 110 were used in the invasion of France, 20 to 25 divisions on occupation duty in Poland, Denmark, Norway and perhaps 20 to 40 divisions in various states of working up, but not operational. The author does not seem to factor the Western Allies in any meaningful way. Germany could deploy less than 20 divisions in the East for a attack on the West since they were at peace with the Soviet Union, but the reverse would be absurd in a attack on the East. The West Wall was no Maginot line after all and Germany was at war with the Western Allies.

    As the Allies had 100 plus divisions available to them, and as with Germany others working up, my guess is that Germany would need at least 40 to 45 divisions to defend the West Wall, plus the 5 to 8 Divisions in Denmark and Norway on occupation duty. By my calculations this reduces the number available for Russia to about 80-85 divisions to conquer a area at least twice the area of France and Benelux countries. A further complication is that the only reserves to throw against any Allied action is those German troops forming up, yet the author holds them for replacements in Russia. The Germans were good, but they can't be in two places at one time.

    The author repeated refers to Overconfidence brought on by the Victory in France and its effect on planning errors/mistakes. Certainly this is true to some extents, but the author concedes that some failures were endemic to the German command structure and unlikely to be materially altered in a scenario without Victory in France. Worse he discounts the positive effects such confidence had on the soldiers in the ranks. What ever you think about the German invasion of Russia, you still have to give credit for extremely high morale (and liberal use of uppers) that allowed them to display remarkable endurance under harsh conditions. its hard to quantify esprit de corps, but you know it when you see it.

    This brings us to the authors projected battle plan as described above. After going to considerable effort complaining about the flaw of having German forces not acting in a coordinated manner, he still insists that AGS and AGC straddle either side of the Pripet Marshes. He relegates a rump AGN to a blocking force protecting the left flank of AGC which is one thing, but does not explain how it keeps pace with a hard charging AGC lacking any mobile forces. Historically even with a Panzer Group it could not keep pace. Apparently no provision for a blocking force is made for AGS despite the wider frontage they faced, nor is one likely since as pointed out above Hungary and Romania would not be initially available if ever. For someone concerned about adhering to conventional military command precepts, he advocates leaving a powerful enemy in his rear and dividing his assault forces in front of another, while expecting one to operate with a uncovered flank..

    No provision is made for the need to secure captured territory with occupation troops which must come from the forces available. Not only is Germany losing troops to combat operations, they will lose them to mop up duties and line of communication tasks, only the available pool in 1940 would be considerably less.

    It would be wiser to make AGS the 'blocking force' and concentrate AGN/AGC as the attack element. At least each would have secure flanks on either side most of the way and with a single thrust STAVKA might concentrate their defense against it offering some chance of destroying the bulk of the Red Army before it can be replaced. The need for a quick victory would be even greater than 1941 since the Western Allies were well mobilized already and with a year to work on it, they might convince Belgium and Holland to join them. If nothing else they would have a year to further prepare (and a rapidly expanding American industrial base) to meet a German thrust in 1941.

    In effect the author either ignores possibilities outside his narrow focus or assumes the variables will act in a manner that are favorable to his hypothesis. No action from the Allies with the bulk of the Wehrmacht committed to the east, Stalin losing his nerve, the freedom for Germany to fully commit to the east without consequence.

    To me it seems this simply trades one set of problems for a different set. We know Germany could defeat the Anglo-French on the continent in 1940, we do not know if she could defeat the SU in 1940, and if she could not the eventual defeat would come much sooner to the Thousand Year Reich.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    An invasion of the SU in 1940 would have been a disaster for Germany ,as Germany was in 1940 much weaker than in 1941 and the SU as strong as in 1941.

    In may 1940 Germany had 157 divisions (14 of them could not be used for fighting) ;of these 157, 93 were starting the war in the west on 10 may and 42 were earmarked as reserve (not all were used) .22 were not usable for Fall Gelb .

    If Germany had attacked the SU in 1940,it would not have available 93 + 42 divisions ,but less,much less ,maybe only 80,because in the ATL of may 1940 France and Britain were still undefeated and would threaten the German border and tie more than 50 divisions and a lot of aircraft . In september 1939, the French (still mobilising and without the British ) tied 34 German divisions on the German border, and in may 1940 the French were stronger than in september 1939 .
     

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