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What if Hitler bypasses Stalingrad...

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by von_noobie, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    Actually that 7% represents "loss rate of matériel", shipping losses were 7.8% eastbound, 3.8% westbound. The convoys were only suspended because escorts were redeployed to a) support the Malta relief efforts and b) TORCH. In the interim, Tovey, CiC Home Fleet had restructured the escort forces, providing "FDE" Fighting Destroyer Escort i.e. 12-15 destroyers, with an Escort Carrier, Coastal Command forces on Soviet soil etc. and coordinating running e/b & w/b sharing escorts,meeting in the Barents Sea. While there were shipping losses, when fought through with these escort forces KM U-Boat and Luftwaffe losses soon became prohibitive. Incidentally, the US tankers loaded with 100-octane aviation fuel were sent by this route after the Japanese had complained of fuel sent to the Soviets via Vladivostok. The Soviets had been buying and shipping from California to supply the Soviet East long before Barbarossa; it was cheaper than shipping oil from Baku et. al. via the Trans-Siberian RR.

    There’s a lot here already re: Soviet oil, but Soviet coal resource loss to the Germans was more severe than oil, in fact the Soviets did well as far as oil goes. In terms of material required for industry,
    German forces occupied an area that contained 60% of the USSR’s armament industry,74% of its coke, 63% of its coal, 71% of its iron ore, 68% of its pig iron, 60%of its aluminium, 58% of its crude steel, 57% of its rolled steel output, and 42% of its electrical generating capacity. Prior to the German onslaught, the Soviets had utilized mineral resources closer to the western industrialized regions because it was cheaper to transport, and they were required to do a lot of R&D of new mineral sources when those sites fell into German hands. For example, when the manganese mines in the Nikopol were overrun, the miners were evacuated to another mine site in the Northern Urals, which required a great deal of expansion. In Kazukstan and Uzbeckistan the production of vanadium, wolframite(tungsten), and molybdenum was greatly increased to compensate for the loss of mines in the German occupied zone. Production of aluminium was begun anew near Sverdlovsk and the Kuzbass Basin.

    So what if the Germans seized Baku? They’d mismanage it, just like they did with all their gains, the transportation problem was never even close to being solved, it could always wait. The Germans simply operated hand-to-mouth, or rapaciously, waiting for the war to end until they could reorganize everything; they did much the same thing in most of Occupied Europe. Remember, the Germans win only if they can seize the oil bearing areas, get them producing again AND get the oil back to Germany to fuel German industry. And all this before before the US feeds, arms and fuels the rest of the world to defeat Germany. It's a no win for Hitler.

    One last thing, much of the oil production equipment the German “Oil Brigades” took with them from Breslau to Maikop was Russian (it took weeks to get there, German transport, logistics etc. were brutal). The Germans had produced it in 1940 at the request of Stalin etc., 100 odd derricks, pipe, pumps etc. in exchange for Soviet oil, all part of the German-Soviet trade provisos of the non-aggression pact. It was never delivered by the Germans, but the US would make up for it.

    Incidentally, that "Blood for Oil:" link posted, is clearly based on "Oil and War" by Goralski & Freeburg. I recognize it - almost verbatim in areas, even going so far as structure and quotes! It’s decent enough, not great; the authors are/were journalists, not scholars or historians, the book dates back to the late 80's,i.e. before Soviet records became more accessible, and it’s not without errors, just an FYI.


     
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The convoys were only suspended because escorts were redeployed to a) support the Malta relief efforts and b) TORCH.

    A number of the same ships did go back and forth for:
    PQ-17 - July
    Pedestal - August
    PQ-18 - September
    Torch - November
    so the need to support operations in the Med might not completely explain the cessation of north Russia convoys from February through November of 1943. The Fighting Destroyer Escort with escort carrier* was used on PQ-18 and contributed to heavy losses especially of German aircraft; the operation still included a covering force of three heavy cruisers and the Home Fleet in distant support. The same tactic was carried out on a smaller scale in the battle of the Barents Sea, Dec 31, which led to the relief of Raedar and almost motivated Hitler to scrap further surface operations (along with the fleet). Despite these successes the Allies were still unwilling to run convoys again until the long winter nights resumed.

    * Avenger also redeployed for Torch and was torpedoed as she was returning home.
     
  3. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    To start with, the RN really didn't want anything to do with Arctic Convoys, they were Churchillian, a political expedient; they sailed as Churchill required them to. They were also military convoys, which includes the shipping, rather than commercial. The suspension after PQ-18 was because the escorts were earmarked for TORCH, but so was all available military shipping, which took precedent and included shipping that had previously been assigned to the Arctic runs.

    They resumed in Dec., the JW/RA convoys, the first split in two groups i.e. 51A & 51B. When they were again discontinued, it was because of the climax of the BoA in the spring of 1943, and the huge shipping losses sustained by the Atlantic commercial convoys, Arctic escorts were redeployed to Atlantic Escort and Support Groups & Fleet. And then of course there would be HUSKY.

    Winter darkness may have aided in preventing detection to a degree in certain areas, but it came with its own handicaps and detriments. Winter sailings in those waters met serious ice conditions which forced them to sail much closer to the defended Norwegian coastline, easier to find, and funnelling the convoys well within easy reach/operational range of German forces.

    If Soviet operational needs, & political expedients made it absolutely necessary to send convoys north in the summer, they'd have gone, and they'd have been fought through. Fortunately for the RN though, there were other routes, longer but they had their own advantages.
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About the Russian coal :the Soviets could handle the coal problem better than the oil.
    1940 coal production:146,7 million of ton (85,5 or 55.8¨% for the Don Bassin)
    1945 coal production:156,2 million of ton (36.9 or 25.7 % for the Don Bassin)
    The Soviets were able to replace (and more than that) the loss of almost 50 million ton of coal of the Don Bassin,by bigger production in
    the Moscow region (from 9.9 million in 1940 to 20 million in 1945)
    Kuznets (from 21.8 million to 28.9 million)
    the Urals(from 11.7 to 25.1)
    Karaganda (from 6.3 to 25.1)
    Far East (from 0.6 to 7)
    Source : sturmvogel.orbat.com/Sovoil.
     
  5. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    So it seems that taking the Caucasus while not directly affecting the Soviet ability to wage war on the scale they did, It may have led to reduced shipments of L-L coming through Persia, And from there who knows? One different move could very well lead to a thousand different moves.
     
  6. Marmat

    Marmat Member

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    ... are incomplete, and a tad misleading. Dealing with the period in question i.e. 1942 and into 1943, while Soviet oil production dropped from 33-31 million tons annually in 1940-41, to 22 million tons in 1942, Soviet "coal" production dropped from 166 million tons in 1940, to a mere 75 million tons in 1942. The numbers reflect a loss of production of approx. 1/3rd or 33% for oil, to 55% for coal. But even that is incomplete, because while a great many Soviet citizens would experience freezing temps in their homes for lack of heating coal, the loss to Soviet state industry of some ¾’s of its coking coal producing area would be reflected in its steel production, coke being integral to steel production, a drop in steel production from 18 million tons in 1940, to 8 million tons in 1942, again a drop of some 55%. The Soviets were fortunate that a greater part of its industry was reliant on oil, or the effects industry wide would’ve been even more severe, as it was, Soviet gross industrial production only dropped some 23% in 1942, from 1940.

    As stated, Soviet coal resource loss to the Germans was more severe than oil, in fact the Soviets did well enough as far as oil goes, during the period in question. The Soviets were required to do a lot of R&D of new raw material sources when those sites in the West fell into German hands, and did rebound; weapons production certainly reflected that rebound.

    Sources are Richard Overy & Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voiny, Sovetskogo Sojuza (History of the Great Patriotic War et. al.)
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Well,this is comparing apples with lemons :the steel production was not dependant on oil,thus the fact that there was less loss of oil than loss of coal would not influence the steel production .
    The fact that the steel production was down in 1942 to 8 million of tons,did not prevent the SU from producing more
    guns 128000 against 40000 in 1941
    aircraft 21000 against 12000
    armoured vehicles 24000 gainst 6000
    and this,while the coal production was down from 150 million in 1941 to 75 million in 1942:the biggest increase of the Soviet war production was in 1942:in 1943,the coal production increased with more than 20¨%,but the production of armoured vehicles stagnated;between 1942 and 1944,the steel production increased by 20 %,while the production of guns was decreasing,the same for the production of small arms .
    Less steel or coal or oil does not mean less aircraft,tanks,guns,......
    You don't need 8 million ton of steel to build 24000 armoured vehicles,128000 guns,etc ....
    I repeat
    1) the SU was more dependant on coal than on oil (as all European countries,and even the US)
    2) while the SU had to do with 60 % of its préwar oil production,it succeeded to replace and more than replace, the big coal losses (33 % of its préwar production),finishing with 60 % of its préwar oil production,and 107 % of its préwar coal production .
    Focussing on 1942 is wrong(why not on 1941?):the war lasted till 1945,and there was no indication that the SU would collapse in 1942.
    My figures are from Harrison:The USSR and total war:why didn't the Soviet economy collapse in 1942?(Although I disagree with his conclusions)
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Back to the question of attacking Caucasus alone. I still think it would be a dangerous position to put the majority of troops in the Caucasus area, even if you could secure the flank better, simply the north-east corner of the Black sea offers a position to cut the troops in the Caucasus area in a trap.Hitler´s plans were more and more based on the fact that the Red Army had no more reserves, and at the same time as Stalingrad, the Red Army had some 1 million men fighting and attacking the Army group center area, where Model managed to hold the lines though. Wheras Hitler could only attack in one army group area only, the Red Army could start major offensives in one or two similar areas, and continue with reserves these attacks.

    http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/blacksea.gif
     
  9. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    While they could cut off any German forces stuck in the Caucasus, I'm of the view that thew defensive line would be set along the Volga/Don rivers. Any attempt to cut of the German forces would first require establishing a beach head. That would take time, possibly days. At the same time, AGS would have extra reserves from which they could use to counter Soviet attacks from across the Volga/Don rivers. So while they could cut off German forces in the Caucasus, It would take time, And would become very obvious early on, The Germans would make plans for either a sea borne evacuation, fast retreat back to Ukraine, or Putting extra divisions on the line to try and stop any soviet offensive in its tracks.

    In any case, 'Putting the majority of troops into the Caucasus alone'... While there would be a sizable force to begin with, It is not as if it would have to remain there indefinitely. Russia was not in any position to try and capitalize on the possible large force of German troops located within the Caucasus early on, It took them many months in real life to gather the forces, equipment and supplies they needed to trap the 6th army and take out a sizable part of AGB, And even then they failed to achieve there full objectives such as trapping AGA in the Caucasus when they where as spread out as they where ever going to be.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Zhukov started planning operations in September and the 6th Army was surrounded mid-November so it took two months from plan to finalising the plan.

    The German troops got their order to evacuate from Caucasus late 1942: "Army Group A threatened to get cut off, it was ordered on 28 December to withdraw from the Caucasus." So the Army group A concentrated gettin gout of the mess mainly in Jan 1943 already.
     
  11. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    True enough, But none the less, A successful offensive can come down to the starting point, To secure a beach head safe enough to build bridges across the Volga with out them being under constant fire would take time. In the time coming up to operation Uranus, It took the Soviets 3 weeks to ferry across 111,000 men, 420 tanks and 556 artillery pieces (these numbers are from Wikipedia so don't take my word on there accuracy). If it takes that much time to shift across those units when they have a bridgehead across the Volga, What would it be like if the Germans were defending along the Volga's river banks? The Volga was no small river that could be waded across.

    As such the Soviets would only be able to assault from one directing, Not the multiple directions they assaulted from as history tells us. On top of that, With the lack of street fighting by not entering into Stalingrad, Many of Germany's elite formations would be capable of resisting far better, And possibly even stronger seeing as they would not be engaged in constant street fighting suffering losses faster then they could be replaced.

    They would only have the choice of assaulting across the Don, which would be far more easily done then trying to cross the Volga, or they could take the Germans head on between the Volga/Don rivers. Assuming Hitler still kept his distance, The Germans would more then likely focus there Panzer armies at the front in these locations, or close to it to act as a reactionary force.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    .......along the Volga/Don rivers. Any attempt to cut of the German forces would first require establishing a beach head. That would take time, possibly days.

    Good point. Historically the Germans never cleared the right bank of the Don; the Soviets retained several bridgeheads from which they eventually launched their counteroffensive. The ability to build up forces and supplies, especially mechanized forces, was crucial to the rapid success of their assault and the encirclement within a few days of 6th Army. Cleaning out these bridgeheads would have done far more to secure the Germans's position than fighting for Stalingrad.

    Similarly, the Axis positions on the right bank of the Volga extended only a few miles south of Stalingrad and the bend in the river. Their ideal would be 4 Panzer Army to clear the right bank all the way to the Caspian, which may have been beyond their capabilities in 1942, but the further they went, the more space they would have to engage any Soviet offensive with mobile tactics, a far better use for panzers than street fighting in Stalingrad.
     
  13. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I think in terms of Staliingrad being surrounded and the attempt of starvation and the garrisoning soviet troops I think an important thing to remember and compare it too is Leningrad. The soviets would never easily surrender satingrad, whether it be through direct assualt or starvation.

    Now even if the Germans had gone around Stalingrad, they would simply be stretching their lines further and further, not only decreasing of local defenders along the whole line, but also greatly stretching the already strecthed logistcial lines of Germany. Had germany ever had taken actually managed to achieve the victory in this operation, I do not believe that they would have been able to capitalise on the victory and turn it into good use. Capturing the oil fields themselves may deprive the Russians of the oil instantly but it would take many months for Germany to be sufficently be able to gain anything from the newly acquired fields, so economically Germany would not benefit fast enough, since ultimetly the Russians sheer man power would overrun the Germanys ever streching lines.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Amazing that Hitler seems not to have listened to reports from the commanders in the field, instead he had Keitel etc to tell how things were going there. No wonder the Germans lost. In WW1 the home front/politicians made the stab in the back to the front soldiers according to Hitler. In WW2 the stab was made by the OKW/Hitler to the front soldiers.

    Stalingrad

    After the war Albert Speer reported what Adolf Hitler said when he was told of the Red Army offensive at Stalingrad in November 1942.

    Our generals are making their old mistakes again. They always over-estimate the strength of the Russians. According to all the front-line reports, the enemy's human material is no longer sufficient. They are weakened; they have lost far too much blood. But of course nobody wants to accept such reports. Besides, how badly Russian officers are trained! No offensive can be organized with such officers. We know what it takes! In the short or long run the Russians will simply come to a halt. They'll run down. Meanwhile we shall throw in a few fresh divisions; that will put things right.
     
  15. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    If he did bypass Stalingrad it is likely the Caucasus would have fell to the Axis.
    The Germans could hold the Don line rather than the Volga and employ a mobile defence in the Kalmykia.
    Apart from taking away most the Soviet oil supply and cutting off a good deal of lend lease the Germans would get to knock out the industrial areas in the Southern Caucasus.
    They would also be able to recruit huge numbers of Georgians, Armenians, Azirs etc which would help to fill Germanys infantry shortage.
    If they can hold the Caucasus through 1943 they may well be able to stalemate the USSR.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I don't see why? If they bypass Stalingrad then the Soviets have a pretty decent point for launching a counter offensive. Even if it fails it could take the steam out of the German attack into the Caucusus. Indeed even if they didn't it far from clear that they could have succeeded there.
     
  17. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    The Don would prove a good defensive barrier with around 5 months to prepare its defensive works.
    Thus if a counter attack came it may have to be across the lower Volga into Kalmykia which is where the Germans more mobile defence would have to come into play.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Even a quick look at wiki shows this to be flawed. Look at:
    Case Blue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Note that the Germans are already having severe logistical problems prior to investing Stalingrad. Note also that Stalingrad is a threat to the left flank of the German lines as long as it's in Soviet hands. At the very least they have to invest it with significant forces. Again the spearhead of the German attack was suffering from severe logistical problems. Adding more panzer units isn't going to help that situation.
     
  19. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    While earlier I argued that Stalingrad could have been made to work I made sure to give a list of solutions. So far you have stated to use the Don as a natural barrier and extend your self in the Kalmykia region while not fully knocking the Soviets back across to the other side of the Volga. What you are doing is advancing so far yet not capitalizing on any victory all the while extending your supply line with out any hope that you have a natural barrier to hide behind.

    If you are going to push so far then you do not go in half assed, You go all in and all in is straight along the Volga towards the Caspian. You also ensure that you have the necassary forces in place to keep the supplies coming, As I previously suggested using barges along the various interconnected rivers. I really suggest you read through the whole thread as I along with a few others have debated this in Very deep depth, I dealt there is anything new you may be able to bring to the argument with out first reading all previous posts.
     
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  20. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    All this has nothing what so ever to do with what I proposed.
    Do you know where the Don River is?
    The Don line was taken by 10 August.
     

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