Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

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ChrisDR68
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Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 07 Feb 2014 16:30

I've always thought Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa a year too early in order to give the German armed forces it's best chance of conquering European Russia.

I've read somewhere that a German planner considered the original plan the biggest improvisation in the history of warfare as the logistics that backed up the whole invasion in June 1941 was severely inadequate (to say the least).

There would be several advantages but also some substantial disadvantages to a delay of the operation for a year. Some of the advantages might include:

1. If Germany could produce 500 panzers and military aircraft a month from mid 1941 to mid 1942 that would add around 6000 panzers (mainly Panzer III's and IV's) to the panzerwaffe and 6000 aircraft to the Luftwaffe's arsenal.

2. The Germans also needed to produce large numbers of standardised trucks to help motorise the army to a much greater degree. If there were too many bottlenecks in the German motor industry to produce the numbers required they could have shifted some production to the French, Dutch and Belguim motor industry's factories.

3. A year of relative low level warfare (a continuation of the air war against the UK, the u-boat war in the Atlantic and the small scale war in North Africa) could have seen a large increase in the fuel reserves that Germany possessed in preparation for the eastern campaign.

4. Stockpiling of supplies needed for a full scale invasion lasting six months and an increase in the numbers of transportation personnel who would be used to alter the rail lines to the European guage and build and repair the road network the invasion force needed to use once the invasion was under way.

5. With the extra armour and air power at their disposal the Germans could have divided up their forces into four army groups instead of three. This would have made the army groups better able to lend assistance to one another as the gaps between them would have been smaller.

Some of the disadvantages:

1. The Red Army would have had enough time to complete it's internal reorganisation that had been started but was incomplete by June 1941.

2. Thousands more Soviet tanks (especially the new T-34) and modern aircraft would have been produced during the year in question.

3. The possibility of the Soviets building substantial frontier defences along the border between Germany and the USSR.

Overall the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in my view. Invading Soviet Russia with a properly equipped and supplied invading force in May 1942 instead of the partially equipped and poorly supplied one in June 1941 gave Germany a better chance of defeating Russia and reaching the A-A line before the cold weather brought offensive operations to a close.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Jumin121 » 07 Feb 2014 17:39

I personally dont think that an invasion in 1942 was feasable, the Soviets in Barbarossa only suffered deafeats in 1941 due to mass surrendering and dissorganization of the Red Army. If the Soviets where prepared better the German offensive wouldnt have made it to smolensk, the soviets would have been well organized and equiped by 1942 and the Germans would have lost the element of surprise because the Soviets would have seen the build up of Nazi forces much sooner.
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stg 44
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by stg 44 » 07 Feb 2014 18:01

Really bad news for the Germans. The Soviets would be much more prepared with modern equipment, troops fully mobilized, the Soviet economy on a wartime footing, and border defenses much more prepared.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by john1761 » 07 Feb 2014 22:54

The USSR may have been better prepared materially but, they still would have been deficient tactically and operationally. it might have benefited the Wehrmacht if the USSR was able to position more of their troops and reserves closer to the front. In OTL many USSR units were not at the front due to logistic problems. The Wehrmacht planned on encircling the Red Army at the front and after destroying them the war would be won. Waiting a year might let this happen.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ljadw » 08 Feb 2014 06:23

The monthly production of 500 tanks was out of the question : in the OTL Germany produced the following numbers in 1942 :

january :306

february : 377

march :372

april : 363

may:411

siurce : Jentz

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by maltesefalcon » 08 Feb 2014 13:51

Perhaps we could measure this change against what would happen elsewhere?

If the USSR was not attacked in 1941, the UK would fight alone for the balance of 1941

The Germans had focused their attention on the pending Eastern invasion for months prior to that as well

Therefore being able to devote 100% of their air, naval and land forces vs the UK I think there is a strong possibility Britain would be knocked out of the African/Mediterranean theatre by year end.

If the renewed threat of a cross channel operation looked imminent a good chance they would seek terms by fall 1941

In that case, no more Uboat vs allied convoys to draw the US Navy into a firefight.

Then when Japan attacked US, there would be no reason for Hitler to declare war as well. Roosevelt would have a hard time getting support for a European war with no allies and everyone screaming for revenge vs Japan.

So the war in 1942 might evolve into US/UK vs Japan and Germany (with its European allies) vs USSR

In this case I don't see any Western aid going to Russia. So a very real possibility of Japan collapsing a year or 2 prior to OTL and Germany prevailing in Russia.

ChrisDR68
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 08 Feb 2014 14:49

ljadw wrote:The monthly production of 500 tanks was out of the question : in the OTL Germany produced the following numbers in 1942 :

january :306

february : 377

march :372

april : 363

may:411

siurce : Jentz
Were these production numbers achieved using only a single shift per day?

If they were then was the German armaments industry so conservative that it couldn't or wouldn't change to double shifts such as the ones instituted by Albert Speer from February 1942 onwards unless there was a major military crisis or Fuhrer order to force through this change in working practices first?

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ljadw » 08 Feb 2014 22:00

1) Could the armament industry start a double shift in 1941 ? Were there no shortages of workers,raw materials,machine tools ?

2) Would a double shift be the solution ?

tank production prior Speer (thus with one shift):

october 1941:306

november 1941:348

december 1941:337

november 1941: 348 (one shift),april 1942:363 (2 shifts) : difference = 15 = less than 5 %

june 1942:368

july 1942:339

august 1942:319

Thus,there are months with one shift where the production was lower than a month with 2 shifts,and,we have months with 2 shifts where the production was lower than a month with one shift .

The list again :

1941:

october : 306

november: 348

december:337

1942:
january:306

february:377

march:332

april:363

may:411

june:368

july:339

august :315


I do not see a clear pattern.

ChrisDR68
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 09 Feb 2014 01:31

According to the figures on page 21 of http://www.sturmvogel.orbat.com/tankrep.html Germany produced around 10,000 panzers during the whole of 1941 and 1942.

Averaging these numbers out gives a figure of around 5000 vehicles produced from June 1941 to May 1942.

Given that Germany invaded east with around 3300 panzers in 1941 that would mean they could have launched Barbarossa with possibly 8000 vehicles in May 1942 even allowing for combat losses of 300 panzers in North Africa during this time period.

Still a substantial increase in the strength of the panzerwaffe compared to the force that invaded the USSR in 1941.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Feb 2014 02:58

Counting panzers is pointless. What matters are the number of railway labor units, any increase in railway communications equipment, replacement rails, ties or sleepers, repair equipment, locomotives, freight cars, coal for fuel... If the invader cannot vastly increase the cargo delivery over that of 1941 the 3700 extra tanks simply run out of fuel, ammunition, and parts weeks or months sooner.

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Don71
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Don71 » 10 Feb 2014 23:52

You would have a point, if Germany or the DR (Deutsche Reichsbahn) couldn't increase your mentioned points.

But the total opposite was the reality, the Germans could built from 1941 till 1945 more then 10000 locomotives and also the stock of freight wagons was increased massively. Also from all sources I have read, the DR was one of the most modern and effective (communications and logistics) railroad organisations of the world since 1940 and it was raised till 1944 continuously.

Anyway I'm not a fan of operation Barbarossa, because to my opinion it was totaly useless, because it was only Hitler's ideologically motivated child or war.

Anyway before and at the operation Barbarossa the focal point was several times changed against the rules of Clausewitz.
Before Barbarossa it was north, then middle. At Barbarossa it was changed first again to north, then back to middle, then to the south (operation Kiew), back to middle.

From a logistic perspective, the focal point on the north would be very important, because with Leningrad, Balticum and the north (with it's railroads) in the hands of the Wehrmacht, the Kriegsmarie and merchant navy, could be an important part of the logistics and a much more stable one.

Some Members have claimed the Red Army would be in much better condition 1942 then 1941. After my reading of Glantz and other serious authors, I can't see were are the much better conditions would come from.

90% of the better conditions of the Read Army at 1942 compare to 1941 cames only from two things.

1. The learn effects of the war, because no other Army was so much in need of learn effects and could better benefit from them, because the intelligence and operation part of the Red Army was murdered from Stalin and the Red Army was an Army without hats. Without learn effects the Red Army at 1942 would be near the same then 1941.
The Red Army was totaly paralysed from June to December 1941 and was only able to initiate local counter attacks and operate on a local tactical basis. Till December 1941 she was not able to operate in any strategic sense or coordinated tactical or stratical sense. The prefered tactic was to change troops, equipment and land against time. Why should this be different 1942?
2. The lend lease transfer of equipment, technology (especially for the VVS and communication equipment) and food.
Without lend lease the Red Army of 1942 would be at the communication part in a much worse condition compare to the Wehrmacht then 1941 and the VVS would be totaly helpless. Also the food would be a major problem at the middle of 1942, because the Soviets had no food without lend lease from the USA. The Soviets could only produce so much armoured vehicles, because of the food program of the USA and their totaly imbalance between producing armoured vehicles and agriculture vehicles.
Next without lend lease, no trucks or enough trucks for the Red Army and it's possibility to fight a mobile war and simultaneously supplying their citizen with food.

The Red Army was much much weaker then some members and Authors argue and she was much more depending on lend lease then any other Allied Army.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by pugsville » 11 Feb 2014 04:39

"because the Soviets had no food without lend lease from the USA."

no sure what you meant to say, but as written this statement is clearly false. They didn't import 100% of the food consumed in Russia via lend lease.

railways.

The Germans could have expanded their railway capabilities but they always told themselves it would be a short war and railways just were not sexy for long term investments (or Goering of other important Nazi wasn't getting a big enough cut out of railway development, allocation of resources was to some degree a matter of 'pull')

The Red Army.
The Red Army would have been much better in 1942 than 1941. More Modern equipment, better training, More Numbers. They still would not have the radios, or the rucks the came in large part from lend lease.

In 1942 there is no guarantee that Stalin would be as blind as he was in 1941. If Stalin comes to his senses and the Red Army deploys in depth, the German Army is in for bad trouble.

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Don71
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Don71 » 11 Feb 2014 05:02

Perhaps I have written it wrong.

The germans built 10000 locomotives between 1941-1945.

DR-Baureihe 50; DR-Baureihe 52; DR-Baureihe 44; DR-Baureihe 42.
"because the Soviets had no food without lend lease from the USA."

no sure what you meant to say, but as written this statement is clearly false. They didn't import 100% of the food consumed in Russia via lend lease.
This statement is correct! Without lend lease their would be not enough food at summer 1942-1945 for the Soviet people and the Red Army, even though the Soviets had lost millions of people till January 1942 (captured or dead soldiers, captured land and the civilian people at this captured land).
Without lend lease and a mobolized Red Army as you described, the Soviet Government would have a very very serious food crises at the beginning of 1942.

You should know, you can't have it all, a mobolized Army, a much better prepared Army, much more weapons and food, no chance from the numbers and facts.
Although I don't see where comes the better equipment, more numbers, and especially the better training without learn effects and better officers.

Your claims are wrong perhaps except 2000 more T34-76 and what else?

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by LWD » 11 Feb 2014 15:52

maltesefalcon wrote:Perhaps we could measure this change against what would happen elsewhere?

If the USSR was not attacked in 1941, the UK would fight alone for the balance of 1941

The Germans had focused their attention on the pending Eastern invasion for months prior to that as well

Therefore being able to devote 100% of their air, naval and land forces vs the UK I think there is a strong possibility Britain would be knocked out of the African/Mediterranean theatre by year end.

If the renewed threat of a cross channel operation looked imminent a good chance they would seek terms by fall 1941

In that case, no more Uboat vs allied convoys to draw the US Navy into a firefight.

Then when Japan attacked US, there would be no reason for Hitler to declare war as well. Roosevelt would have a hard time getting support for a European war with no allies and everyone screaming for revenge vs Japan.

So the war in 1942 might evolve into US/UK vs Japan and Germany (with its European allies) vs USSR

In this case I don't see any Western aid going to Russia. So a very real possibility of Japan collapsing a year or 2 prior to OTL and Germany prevailing in Russia.
I find this line of thought rather questionable. Britain was stronger in 41 than she was in 40. This was especially true in regards to the territory of Great Britain and there was little force Germany could bring to bear there that would in any way increase the near impossibilty of a successful invasion. In Africa the positons were dominated by logistics and again Germany was going to have a very hard time supporting enough force to win in that theater.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Lothar_1 » 12 Feb 2014 16:36

some say it correct things, but all points must be in context.

1) when counting only tanks or planes, numbers of soldiers, ... it looks that all people in 1941 sit around and build tanks...

2) Hitler wanted to invade USSR as soon as possible. He had the hope, if Germany defeats the USSR, Churchill might give up.

3) In case Hitler delays the attack, why would he do this, what else would he do?
Hitler hoped to find peace to GB to be able to have only one frontier against Stalin.
When not attacking the USSR, he would not have brought all Tanks and planes to the USSR-border, he might have used
all trops to fight GB in Africa.

4) till to the German attack the USSR delivered raw material like oil and steel to Germany. This stopped on 22.6.1941.
When not attacking the USSR in 1941 they would have delivered material. This might have had an influence on the tank production.


Following szenario could have been made:
Hitler planned to defeat GB first. After the italian desaster in north Africa, Hitler concenrates the Luftwaffe in south Italy and occupies
Malta in cooperation with Italy in Feb. 1941. Than it is easier for him to bring men and material to Africa.

This is the reason to wait with Barbarossa until 1942.

When Rommel starts witz his DAK, he might have 15 tank devisions instead of only 2. The Rest of the Wehrmacht attacks at the Balkan.
Propably the british army will have been defeated an Egypt and Suez might have been under German control in August 1941.

What then? Peace offer to GB? If Yes, what could Hitler offer to GB:
German troops leave France, Norway, ... and Africa and peace? But ceep Poland? Would GB accept this?

If yes, Hitler could prepare the Barbarossa for 1942. He would have much more soldiers, tanks, ... for this attack.

But how would Stalin react in this time? As far as I know, Stalins plan was to let Germany fight as long as possible
against the west. While the western states kill each other the USSR could buld up tanks and prepare the own war.

After a peace contract with GB Stalin might have expected the war against the USSR. The Stalin war might have been finished
and Stalin might have much more armies to the German border. And also the brand new T-34.

The fightings depend hard on Stalins plans.
a) Stalin planes to attack Germany before Hitler attacks the USSR. Than STalins brings all his armies to the border.
The Germans notice this and when attacking the USSR the mass of the soviet army (execting their own ofensive and not being atacked)
can be destroyed .

b) Stalin expects Hitlers offensive and ceeps the mass of russian forces deep in the soviet inland, maybe near Smolensk.
Near Smolensk the German have first logistic problems and suddenly meet many many well prepared and equiped Armies.


Version a) would propably lead to a German victory. Destroying the soviet Armies near to the german border means for Germans:
Capzured wappons can be used, and not usable material can be used as steel for the own production.
Near the german border the Luftwaffe would have fought much more successfully. And having the complete soviet army at the border
would mean: Hard foughts at the border and than fast trip to Moskau.
The farer the battles were away from Germany the harder it was for the Wehrmacht.

Summary:
When thinking of what happened, if Barbarossa would have been 1942, it is much much more complex than only counting wappons.

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