Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

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amcl
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by amcl » 25 Sep 2014 04:56

ChrisDR68 wrote:
amcl wrote:
ChrisDR68 wrote:Thanks for those references.

What explains the US public expecting Britain to win her war with Germany?

Germany was the more powerful country in terms of her industrial strength with a larger army and air force. She also had a bigger population by roughly 30 million people.
You seem to be forgetting the Empire. No American in 1940-1941 would make that mistake. Indeed, I rather suspect they'd probably overstate its importance.
Did the British Empire do much of anything in practical terms to defend the British home islands from a potential German invasion?

I would contend that it did not so American public opinion being influenced by the existence of the empire in this context is puzzling to say the least.
The first point is easiest. The direct material contribution of the Empire to the defence of the UK was, with the exception of Canada, rather limited. That was a consequence both of geography & the insatiable demands of other theatres of war. In 1940 some Australian & NZ army units were present in the UK, along with a handful of Indian muleskinners. Apart from that momentary diversion, it was UK-Canada-Exiles with a substantial presence from the wider Empire only in the air. Almost without exception, the other theatres of war looked rather different. Especially on the ground, there were times & places when it wasn't at all obvious from a list of formations involved in operations that the UK was doing much at all.

On the second point, you're confounding reality & perception. First, the reality. Ignoring the periphery altogether, in the '30s the UK & Canada combined exceeded Germany-Austria in GDP (Tooze, 'Wages of Destruction', Table 3, Maddison's figures) and were well ahead in GDP per capita (ibid.). So, yes, Germany was stronger in 1940, but it wasn't immeasurably stronger. The British Empire was rich & economically powerful. It may not have been as strong as that many Americans imagined, or as Edgerton attempts to portray in 'Britain's War Machine', but with some big help from geography it was clearly no push-over. If Americans thought that Germany would lose and that the USA would stay out of the war, I can only imagine that it must have been the second of Churchill's two "A"s - airpower - that they thought would do the job. (Overestimating airpower? Well, at least politicians and professional military folks would never have fallen into the error.)

On the perception front, the British Empire looked huge on a map & had a population of over 500 million. You know & I know that most of those people lived in relative poverty, but big numbers have power.

So do subjective impressions. Using Walt Rostow's terms (in his creaky old 'The World Economy', conclusions found in Part Five), the UK had joined the USA, Canada, Australia & some fortunate others in the age of "High Mass-Consumption". Germany, like France, had after a brief happy period in the 1920s slipped back and didn't reach that level of economic development again until the 1950s. Using Rostow's suggested dates, Germany was at least 25 years behind the USA in the last years of peace and stuck in the mud while Britain was roughly 10 years behind. To the extent that those match GDP/GNI/NNP/NNI per capita numbers - which is always going to be "imperfectly" - they suggest that a random 1930s American journalist, pundit or author coming to the UK would have seen a quality of life considerably closer to that they knew from home than they would had they gone to Germany.

One final point. It be as unwise to the impact of anglophobia in the USA at this time as it would be to ignore anglophilia. (Historian John Moser, not to be confused with John Mosier, wrote a book about this: 'Twisting the Lion's Tail: Anglophobia in the United States, 1921-1948'. I found it a fascinating read.) Many Irish-Americans had good reason to think badly of the Evil Empire, and they were by no means alone. Moser notes (e.g. pp. 129-130) that professional anglophobes were active in attempting to portray the UK in a bad light. That ought to have been easy enough, given the raw material available to anyone who could read a history book & the intended audience. But it seems to me that there's a case to be made that deep-seated anglophobia & a desire to see the Empire defeated could easily translate into a tendency to overestimate British power. (On which point, see Umberto Eco's essay 'Eternal Fascism: 14 Ways to Recognize a Blackshirt', specifically number 8.)

To paraphrase Mr Pascal, I'm sorry this post is so long, but I don't have the time to make it shorter.

Cheers,

Angus

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 05 Oct 2014 17:27

ljadw wrote:
ChrisDR68 wrote:
Germany was the more powerful country in terms of her industrial strength


She also had a bigger population by roughly 30 million people.
These statements are not correct
Can you furnish me with the numbers that shows those statements to be incorrect?

I've read that that the UK in 1939 had a population of around 48 million. Germany (with the addition of Austria after the anschluss) had a total population of around 77 million people.

With this difference in population it's difficult to imagine Germany was weaker than the UK in terms of her industrial strength.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ljadw » 05 Oct 2014 19:24

1)While there was a difference in population between Britain and Germany of 30 million,this equation is not correct : the equation must be between Germany and Britain and the Dominions,and than,the population of Britain and the Dominions was greater than the population of Germany.

2)Bigger population does not mean bigger economic strength : the population of China was 700 % of that of Japan,but its economic strength was much lower that that of Japan .

And IMO,the economic strength of Britain and the Dominions was greater than that of Germany,although I know that some people will not accept this .

The population of Britain and France was 10 % bigger than that of Germany,but the economic strength of those countries was very much superior than that of Germany .

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 11 Oct 2014 16:13

amcl wrote:One final point. It be as unwise to the impact of anglophobia in the USA at this time as it would be to ignore anglophilia. (Historian John Moser, not to be confused with John Mosier, wrote a book about this: 'Twisting the Lion's Tail: Anglophobia in the United States, 1921-1948'. I found it a fascinating read.) Many Irish-Americans had good reason to think badly of the Evil Empire, and they were by no means alone. Moser notes (e.g. pp. 129-130) that professional anglophobes were active in attempting to portray the UK in a bad light. That ought to have been easy enough, given the raw material available to anyone who could read a history book & the intended audience. But it seems to me that there's a case to be made that deep-seated anglophobia & a desire to see the Empire defeated could easily translate into a tendency to overestimate British power. (On which point, see Umberto Eco's essay 'Eternal Fascism: 14 Ways to Recognize a Blackshirt', specifically number 8.)

Angus
Thanks for this interesting post :)

So am I right in thinking that you believe the American public to be essentially ambivalent in it's views towards the UK in the 1940/41 period mixed with a reluctant realisation that eventually the United States would have to get involved in the European war as a fighting partner of Britain in order to combat the menace of Nazi Germany?

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by Entschuldigung » 15 Dec 2016 12:34

I myself had often thought this might have been advantageous for the Wehrmacht, due to references read regarding high level Staff Army Command instructing hitler that the German army would not be ready for war until 1944.

I think the major problem precedes whether hitler invaded later with a more mobile/mechanised army or not.

The real problems were: 1) failing to put German economy on a war footing. 2) overconfidence resulting in demobilisation after the battle of France; which also led to the cancellation of the many new so called 'wunderwaffe' weapons being researched in the 30's. for example, in 1936, a prototype was already produced for a Tiger Tank, as well as rocket propulsion and other innovations. 3) Vagueness and non-adherence to the principles of war in respect to Barbarossa: German forces needed clear, distinct and direct objectives; an overall unified command, as well as contingency in case of partial failure or set backs.

When one considers the hubris and over-confidence on the part of the German general staff, it's ignorance in assessing Russia, it's astonishing to think the entire premise was based upon the 'internal collapse of the whole rotten edifice'.

Germany was well over stretched by the time Barbarossa dawned. Many people forget Germany, with it's incredibly limited resources, was actually already fighting on three fronts; Atlantic, Air war with UK, and North Africa, not to mention the amount of forces needed to garrison occupied Europe.

What Germany did achieve I think many of us quietly admire and are startled by; as a war-torn country ravaged by internal strife and the great depression, went from backwater to potential great power.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 28 Jun 2020 16:26

I started this thread in 2014 and having read quite a bit since and watched a few lectures on the subject I'd like to augment this original thesis.

To complement an Operation Barbarossa launched in May 1942 Hitler needed a different overall grand strategy with differing priorities than in the OTL.


1. Agree an overall joint strategy for the Mediterranean theatre of operations with Mussolini. Instead of sending Rommel to North Africa primarily to save the Italians from defeat against the British, send him there with a strategy of advancing into Egypt, cutting the Suez Canal to Allied shipping and entering the oil rich middle east.

2. To achieve this he receives 4 panzer and motorised divisions instead of the 2 in the OTL. An airborne invasion of Malta is launched in the early summer of 1941 instead of concentrating on Crete given the importance logistical support always was to the Axis forces in the region.

3. With sufficient forces to defeat the British Army (particularly when a portion of the latter was sent to Greece in early 1941 in order to shore up that country), a Rommel led Axis army group makes rapid gains towards Tobruk. Several stops are required along the way in order to await resupply but despite this the El Alamein bottleneck is breached due to the weakness and demoralisation of the British Army by the summer of 1941.

4. Rommel reaches Alexandria depriving the Royal Navy of a vital naval base and cuts the Suez Canal to Allied shipping. The way is now open for an advance into the Middle East proper, perhaps helped by improved logistical support by way of ships landing supplies and reinforcements at Tobruk or Alexandria.

5. The Axis quickly brush aside British forces in the region helped by pro-Axis elements in Iraq. The Iraqi oilfields begin to be repaired by the special German task force assigned for this role. Hitler then applies pressure on Turkey to join the Axis (perhaps as a none belligerent similar to Bulgaria) possibly including as an enticement sole occupation of Cyprus in the event that island should fall into Axis hands.

6. With Turkey as an Axis ally oil can then begin to be transported overland via the railroads through the country and up through the Balkans and into Germany augmenting the supplies she was already receiving from Romania and the USSR and from the domestic synthetic oil plants.

7. The u-boat campaign is limited to the Arctic, North Sea and Mediterranean theatre of operations. This is to avoid as much as possible the United States' entry into the war on Britain's side remembering that the US Congress has to vote in favour of a declaration of war on the Axis should the American president propose it.


By the end of 1941 the strategic position of the Axis is transformed. The Royal Navy only has a couple is island bases with which to operate plus Gibraltar and no Suez Canal open to it and is thus severely hampered in operating effectively in the Mediterranean.

Germany controls the oilfields of Iraq and Egypt and has a land based way to transport the oil back to the Fatherland (apart from the narrow Dardanelles crossing) with Turkey's entry into the war on the Axis's side.

Once Operation Barbarossa is launched in May 1942 the oilfields in the Baku region of the Caucasus are within striking distance of the Axis forces in Iraq and Turkey. This option, if successful, could deprive the Soviets of the vast bulk of her oil supplies at the very outset of the German led invasion of the Soviet Union.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by T. A. Gardner » 28 Jun 2020 20:44

ChrisDR68 wrote:
28 Jun 2020 16:26
I started this thread in 2014 and having read quite a bit since and watched a few lectures on the subject I'd like to augment this original thesis.

To complement an Operation Barbarossa launched in May 1942 Hitler needed a different overall grand strategy with differing priorities than in the OTL.
This is without reading the entire thread. Just some comments.
1. Agree an overall joint strategy for the Mediterranean theatre of operations with Mussolini. Instead of sending Rommel to North Africa primarily to save the Italians from defeat against the British, send him there with a strategy of advancing into Egypt, cutting the Suez Canal to Allied shipping and entering the oil rich middle east.
It makes zero difference. Since shipping wasn't crossing the Med to England long before 1942 due to the war, it will still be going around the Cape. The oil fields in the Middle East at the time are still hundreds of miles away across mostly roadless desert at that point. The Allies / British fall back on Massawa in Eritrea as their major port.
2. To achieve this he receives 4 panzer and motorised divisions instead of the 2 in the OTL. An airborne invasion of Malta is launched in the early summer of 1941 instead of concentrating on Crete given the importance logistical support always was to the Axis forces in the region.
The problem here is one of logistics. The Germans and Italians simply don't have the means to support more than they historically did logistically hundreds up to a thousand miles from their available ports. The Allies did better at this because they had more shipping available and once the US entered the war, they had the ability to clear, rebuild, and even construct new, ports in virtually nothing flat.
Crete is important because if the Allies hold it it gives them a base from which they can launch strikes against Ploesti. Eliminating Crete as an Allied base is important. Malta on the other hand could be neutralized by the Axis for short periods when necessary for large troop movements to or from Africa, or for large convoys when moving supplies. The Axis lacked the air power to keep it neutralized continuously however. Taking it will be a challenge given the lack of amphibious shipping and equipment the Axis has along with the lack of expertise in such operations, the terrain of the islands themselves. Most of the coastline of Malta is cliff face.
3. With sufficient forces to defeat the British Army (particularly when a portion of the latter was sent to Greece in early 1941 in order to shore up that country), a Rommel led Axis army group makes rapid gains towards Tobruk. Several stops are required along the way in order to await resupply but despite this the El Alamein bottleneck is breached due to the weakness and demoralisation of the British Army by the summer of 1941.
The only thing that didn't happen was the British becoming demoralized. I can't see that changing here.
4. Rommel reaches Alexandria depriving the Royal Navy of a vital naval base and cuts the Suez Canal to Allied shipping. The way is now open for an advance into the Middle East proper, perhaps helped by improved logistical support by way of ships landing supplies and reinforcements at Tobruk or Alexandria.
The RN moves to Massawa instead. Shipping continues to flow around the Cape and Africa as before. If the Axis brings in U-boats to move down the Red Sea, the British mine the snot out of it. The Axis has no counter.
5. The Axis quickly brush aside British forces in the region helped by pro-Axis elements in Iraq. The Iraqi oilfields begin to be repaired by the special German task force assigned for this role. Hitler then applies pressure on Turkey to join the Axis (perhaps as a none belligerent similar to Bulgaria) possibly including as an enticement sole occupation of Cyprus in the event that island should fall into Axis hands.
Getting to them is the problem. The British likely demolition any fields they know are in real danger of capture and all the technical personnel are withdrawn from the area leaving the Germans and Italians who have very limited personnel of their own in this field to deal with trying to get the fields up again. Also, the differences in equipment--British and US equipment use the Imperial / SAE system (inches, feet, pounds, etc.) not metric. There are differences in electrical grid, etc., too. It won't be some the Germans walk in, the US / British civilian staff are still there and willingly help the Germans, and in nothing flat the fields are again producing... fantasy.
6. With Turkey as an Axis ally oil can then begin to be transported overland via the railroads through the country and up through the Balkans and into Germany augmenting the supplies she was already receiving from Romania and the USSR and from the domestic synthetic oil plants.
So Turkey magically joins the Axis hum? How convenient...
7. The u-boat campaign is limited to the Arctic, North Sea and Mediterranean theatre of operations. This is to avoid as much as possible the United States' entry into the war on Britain's side remembering that the US Congress has to vote in favour of a declaration of war on the Axis should the American president propose it.
Japan still whacks Pearl Harbor, and the US is in that war. The US still builds for a two front war expecting a go with Germany at some point. By the way, restricting U-boat warfare to the areas suggested means they are coming up dry on targets pretty much. The action is in the Atlantic so the British get a pass on sinkings too.

By the end of 1941 the strategic position of the Axis is transformed. The Royal Navy only has a couple is island bases with which to operate plus Gibraltar and no Suez Canal open to it and is thus severely hampered in operating effectively in the Mediterranean.
Or not.
Germany controls the oilfields of Iraq and Egypt and has a land based way to transport the oil back to the Fatherland (apart from the narrow Dardanelles crossing) with Turkey's entry into the war on the Axis's side.
Even if they did, it's likely they can make little use of them without building lots of tankers and warships for escort. The land routes really don't exist at the time and the Axis is just terrible at civil engineering on-the-fly or at high speed.
Once Operation Barbarossa is launched in May 1942 the oilfields in the Baku region of the Caucasus are within striking distance of the Axis forces in Iraq and Turkey. This option, if successful, could deprive the Soviets of the vast bulk of her oil supplies at the very outset of the German led invasion of the Soviet Union.
Much of the German technical development in military hardware that occurred originally probably doesn't happen either. I see no reason the Germans develop say, the Panther tank. Against British tanks the Pz III and IV are more than adequate, as but one example. Since the Soviets continue to push out T-34 and KV 1 tanks, along with other equipment, and they've completed their reorganization of ground forces, along with recovering from the worst of the purges, they are a tougher nut to crack in mid 1942.
The Soviets spend much of 1941 and even into 1942 recreating a new Stalin Line in their new positions. That is, they build permanent fortifications along the border at many critical locations.
The Germans roll into Russia with the Pz III 50L60, some still extant 50L42's and Pz IV with the 75/24 gun as these were more than sufficient to take on the British. They get a rude shock in Russia far worse than in 1941. They also have far more troops stationed in the Middle East to secure all that territory they took. That hurts them on the number of infantry divisions they have available for Russia. That too bogs down their campaign and overall, they don't do nearly as well as they did historically.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Jun 2020 09:07

For a long time I thought this ATL was the best German victory scenario but now disagree. Haven't read the whole thread but here's a summary of why:
  • You don't address the massive escalation of Soviet strength underway during '41. German assistance via Molotov-Ribbentrop would only have amplified this dynamic. In OTL '42 the SU fielded ~6mil men against Germany from a base population of ~120mil. Absent Barbarossa, the SU's '42 base population is ~195mil and its industrial base is roughly double OTL. Hitler had maneuvered Germany into an opportunity to forestall the SU's emergence as a superpower; this ATL runs into that emergence. The Ostheer smashed a ~3.5mil Red Army in OTL Barbarossa but it's going to do far less well - perhaps even stopped quite quickly - against a ~5mil Red Army. Especially considering that Stalin is likely to have cast aside his Hitler delusions by ATL '42, as he expected to be strong enough to face Germany by '42 and doesn't need to deceive himself any longer. That means a stronger, more ready, better-trained, more numerous, better-led Red Army. The force ratios could have been worse than OTL '43 and projecting a similar outcome on the Eastern Front seems reasonable in those circumstances.
  • An essential component of a good ATL, IMO, is a narrative for why things go differently. How does the addition of ~25 poorly-equipped/trained Turkish divisions and the diffusion of German strength to a Caucasian front and further Mid-East garrisons significantly alter the balance of power?
  • Another essential ATL component, IMO, is a parsimony on PoD's and contingencies. Here you're counting on delayed American entry in addition to the success of the MidEast campaign. While that's possible, it adds another layer of uncertainty that decreases the feasibility of your ATL. You'd need some narrative for why Japan doesn't strike the U.S. or for why, with the nation roused to war, FDR doesn't get Congress to add Germany to the war goals as well. I'm not saying it's ridiculous or even unlikely but it needs further justification.
At base your OTL relies on Hitler having a better appreciation of Soviet strength and acting accordingly. You've correctly identified the base grand strategic error that Hitler made (underestimation of the SU) but your remedy is, IMO, (1) insufficient and (2) more involved than is necessary.

Rather than delaying the invasion by a year and conquering another sub-continent - all to reach Baku earlier - it seems far simpler to make the '41 invasion more successful, which both gets you to Baku in '42 and massively damages the SU.

How? One more panzer group in Barbarossa and plan for a 15-month campaign. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557

Hitler then applies pressure on Turkey to join the Axis (perhaps as a none belligerent similar to Bulgaria) possibly including as an enticement sole occupation of Cyprus in the event that island should fall into Axis hands.
Bulgaria was a belligerent, just not against Russia.

IMO Turkey likely would have joined the Axis if (1) Russia is collapsing and (2) Axis is winning the war. Obviously Russia isn't collapsing at the start of a delayed Barbarossa so it's not clear to me Turkey would have joined. What's your argument?
T.A. Gardner wrote:Japan still whacks Pearl Harbor, and the US is in that war.
Despite my reservations about the ATL, it's far better than this response. You need to at least address whether Japan would have been confident to fight the U.S. with an undistracted SU on its border. More importantly, you need to at least address how FDR gets his DoW against Germany in this ATL. As I said, I'm inclined to believe your claim but absent an argument it's nothing more than a claim and doesn't advance the discussion.
T.A. Gardner wrote:The problem here is one of logistics. The Germans and Italians simply don't have the means to support more than they historically did logistically hundreds up to a thousand miles from their available ports.
Claims about logistics should be heavily scrutinized for whether they actually have analytical content.

Elsewhere on this board we've discussed how Malta's influence decreased practical port throughput capacity by forcing an onerous convoy system on particularly small ports. Absent Malta, the practical throughput of Libyan ports is greatly enhanced.

As for moving beyond the Libyan ports, some of the 600,000 trucks used in Barbarossa (and their fuel) would plainly be available to the DAK. The Ostheer was able to support 150 divisions >300km from the Polish border via trucks. To support 8 divisions 1,000km from ports is small potatoes by comparison.
T.A. Gardner wrote:The only thing that didn't happen was the British becoming demoralized.
There's at least one whole book on this topic, Fighting the People’s War The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War by Jonathan Fennell.

Chapter 6 is entitled "The Great Imperial Morale Crisis" and places great emphasis on 8th Army's morale crisis prior prior to First Alamein. For example:
In attempting to explain this poor morale,the report referred to a lack of self-respect among the troops.
In early 1942, reports reached the War Office that officers in field units were struggling to cope with the challenges of military leadership.67 In the desert, Auchinleck wrote of the extent of ‘criticism of officers in the letters of other ranks’.68 The field censorships ummary for 5 to 11 March 1942 admitted that it could not ‘be denied that criticism of the ability and enterprise of officers both in the field and at the base is increasing’.
So morale was a problem in 8th Army during OTL '42 and was partially related to war fortunes and troop confidence in leadership.

Again, a claim should be backed by argument and evidence.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Jun 2020 09:20

Entschudigung wrote:Many people forget Germany, with it's incredibly limited resources, was actually already fighting on three fronts; Atlantic, Air war with UK, and North Africa, not to mention the amount of forces needed to garrison occupied Europe.

What Germany did achieve I think many of us quietly admire and are startled by; as a war-torn country ravaged by internal strife and the great depression, went from backwater to potential great power.
Excuse me, I know this is an old quote but can't disagree more.

Many people forget that Germany was the world's second-biggest national economy pre-war and that by '41 it had partially expropriated the resources of most of Europe. Due to the bumbling and cowardice of Allied powers that could have stopped Hitler before WW2, he was able to maneuver individual confrontations that gave him a realistic chance at durably dominating the Old World.

There is nothing particularly startling about that, much less anything to admire - quietly or not.

When France was the most populous European country it always took a coalition to contain it. Same with Germany. The coalition fractured in the '30's and Hitler missed his brief shot to exploit that fracture. That's all.

Hitler had at least a few years to fight Poland, France, and Russia sequentially and mostly individually. Germany's army was more powerful than each of these countries and should have prevailed in each battle.

Nazi incompetence and arrogance caused the failure via an underestimation of the SU.

Compared to Louis XIV, Napoleon, even the Kaiserreich - all of whom faced undivided opposition at least initially - Hitler arguably had the best opportunity and blew it most spectacularly.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 02 Jul 2020 17:57

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Jun 2020 09:07
For a long time I thought this ATL was the best German victory scenario but now disagree. Haven't read the whole thread but here's a summary of why:
  • You don't address the massive escalation of Soviet strength underway during '41. German assistance via Molotov-Ribbentrop would only have amplified this dynamic. The Ostheer smashed a ~3.5mil Red Army in OTL Barbarossa but it's going to do far less well - perhaps even stopped quite quickly - against a ~5mil Red Army.


That's certainly possible. On the other hand the Wehrmacht is also stronger in 1942 compared to the OTL. It would have had an extra year to stockpile oil, ammunition and food. It would also likely have fielded enough panzers to have 2 panzergruppen in each of the 3 army groups attacking the Soviet Union from the west. This would have increased the possibilities of more cauldron battles than in the OTL.

The cardinal weakness of Soviet tanks in 1941 was the lack of radios, shortages of ammunition and the tank guns having not been bored properly so that the gunner had difficulty accurately lining up on his target. Those weaknesses (particularly with regards radios) were still likely to exist in mid 1942.

Another essential ATL component, IMO, is a parsimony on PoD's and contingencies. Here you're counting on delayed American entry in addition to the success of the MidEast campaign. While that's possible, it adds another layer of uncertainty that decreases the feasibility of your ATL. You'd need some narrative for why Japan doesn't strike the U.S. or for why, with the nation roused to war, FDR doesn't get Congress to add Germany to the war goals as well. I'm not saying it's ridiculous or even unlikely but it needs further justification.

So long as Hitler doesn't take the idiotic decision to declare war on the US following Pearl Harbor Japan's war with the US shouldn't impact the European war much imo. Remembering that in my ATL there is no u-boat campaign in the Atlantic and so no American ships are being sunk by the Wolf Packs. In those circumstances I think Roosevelt would have a tough time getting a majority of senators to vote in favour of a declaration of war on Germany now that the US had her hands full with her war with Japan.

At base your OTL relies on Hitler having a better appreciation of Soviet strength and acting accordingly. You've correctly identified the base grand strategic error that Hitler made (underestimation of the SU) but your remedy is, IMO, (1) insufficient and (2) more involved than is necessary.


The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in the OTL knowing they were outnumbered. What Hitler apparently didn't know was that the Soviets had 14 million reservists with which to call on so no matter how many Red Armies the Wehrmacht smashed another one would appear in it's place. That's why the original Barbarossa plan failed (plus the lack of logistical support).

The ace in the hole for the Germans was a strategy aimed at the lifeblood of any army at this time in history - oil. An offensive aimed at the Caucasus from the south would, at the very least, have rendered the oilfields at Baku, Maikop and Grozny smouldering wrecks. That's 80% of pre-war Soviet oil supplies up in smoke within a month or two of the start of the invasion.

It's impossible to say how much this would have impacted the operations of the Red Army and the Red Air Force but it's not hard to imagine that the affects would be large.

Rather than delaying the invasion by a year and conquering another sub-continent - all to reach Baku earlier - it seems far simpler to make the '41 invasion more successful, which both gets you to Baku in '42 and massively damages the SU.

How? One more panzer group in Barbarossa and plan for a 15-month campaign. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557
Enjoyed reading your thesis. The Germans in that ATL are still lacking logistical support though (especially oil for her panzers) and the changes to panzer production on the German domestic front that you outline are quite involved and complicated. I agree that an additional panzergruppen for Army Group South would have had a large positive impact for the Germans in June 1941.

IMO Turkey likely would have joined the Axis if (1) Russia is collapsing and (2) Axis is winning the war. Obviously Russia isn't collapsing at the start of a delayed Barbarossa so it's not clear to me Turkey would have joined. What's your argument?


I agree the Turks would have been extremely reluctant to get involved in another European war after her experience in WW1. Axis forces in this ATL are in Greece to the north and Syria to the south. Hitler could have used the carrot and stick approach to force them to get involved. Sole ownership of Cyprus plus a number of other Greek islands near the Turkish coast could have been offered by the Fuhrer (with Mussolini's agreement) with a % of the oil extracted from Iraq (and possibly western Iran) thrown in as an additional sweetener. Those are the carrots.

The stick, either implied and openly stated, would be a land invasion of Turkey by the Axis partners. It would be a bluff (similar to Operation Sealion and Britain) but if the Turks took it seriously they may have agreed to transit rights for Axis trains going through the country. Would it have worked? Impossible to say but it's intriguing to consider that it might have.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Jul 2020 02:00

ChrisDR68 wrote:The cardinal weakness of Soviet tanks in 1941 was the lack of radios, shortages of ammunition and the tank guns having not been bored properly so that the gunner had difficulty accurately lining up on his target. Those weaknesses (particularly with regards radios) were still likely to exist in mid 1942.
If the radio situation would have been similar then doesn't that just get us to something like OTL '42 battle conditions? If so, then the Germans likely see results similar to OTL '42: territorial gains but no big cauldrons. That's a disaster for Germany just as in OTL.

But giving the SU another year to build up its forces likely leads to better C&C infrastructure in ATL '42 than OTL. The Red Army wouldn't have lost tens of thousands of radios in '41, after all, and would have retained its giant, growing industrial base throughout this period (plus no 3-month production hiatus for evacuations).
ChrisDR68 wrote:Remembering that in my ATL there is no u-boat campaign in the Atlantic and so no American ships are being sunk by the Wolf Packs.
That's a pretty massive loss for the Axis though. Give the Wallies ~3mil more tons of shipping in '42 and things are very grim if/when the U.S. enters.
ChrisDR68 wrote:What Hitler apparently didn't know was that the Soviets had 14 million reservists with which to call on so no matter how many Red Armies the Wehrmacht smashed another one would appear in it's place. That's why the original Barbarossa plan failed (plus the lack of logistical support).
We've discussed German intelligence on Soviet reserves elsewhere. viewtopic.php?f=76&t=247096

It seems pretty clear that they did understand the immense Soviet manpower reserves even if off on some particulars.

The strategic assumption was that the state itself would collapse. If that happens it obviously doesn't matter how many reserves exist in theory.

Yes, the German strategy really was that stupid.
(plus the lack of logistical support)
Statements about German logistics are the most likely to be complete BS both on this board and in a lot of the literature.

I say more on the topic here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557&start=390#p2239628

I doubt that Barbarossa's outcome would have been fundamentally different even with perfect logistics. There are still too many Soviets and too few Germans with too little equipment by December '41. In your ATL that dynamic is even worse by December '42, given the extra year of Soviet strength-building.

That said, for the Germans to have moved farther than OTL would have required better rail logistics, something that would not have been so hard to achieve (as discussed in my linked post).
An offensive aimed at the Caucasus from the south would, at the very least, have rendered the oilfields at Baku, Maikop and Grozny smouldering wrecks. That's 80% of pre-war Soviet oil supplies up in smoke within a month or two of the start of the invasion.
The oilfields are 500km from the Turkish border, blocked by the largest mountain range west of the Himalayas. OTL it took just a few weeks to go from Rostov to Maikop and nearly to Gorkiy. In the ensuing 6 months the Germans didn't cross the mountains in any significant force (maybe a few scouting parties crossed). Again I think you're over-estimating the value of the Caucasus front and underestimating the impact of taking and holding Rostov during Barbarossa.
The Germans in that ATL are still lacking logistical support though (especially oil for her panzers)
The logistical problem wasn't a lack of oil. Germany had enough oil/gas for the Ostheer, it just wasn't with the Ostheer because it couldn't be brought there (because of the bad railroads).

From the very early days of Barbarossa, the panzer spearheads were getting gas airlifted by the LW in emergency situations. If the true issue were the total supply of gas rather than the location of that gas, Germany would not have burned so much fuel in Ju-52's merely to shift gas around the battlefield.
I agree the Turks would have been extremely reluctant to get involved in another European war after her experience in WW1. Axis forces in this ATL are in Greece to the north and Syria to the south. Hitler could have used the carrot and stick approach to force them to get involved. Sole ownership of Cyprus plus a number of other Greek islands near the Turkish coast could have been offered by the Fuhrer (with Mussolini's agreement) with a % of the oil extracted from Iraq (and possibly western Iran) thrown in as an additional sweetener. Those are the carrots.

The stick, either implied and openly stated, would be a land invasion of Turkey by the Axis partners. It would be a bluff (similar to Operation Sealion and Britain) but if the Turks took it seriously they may have agreed to transit rights for Axis trains going through the country. Would it have worked? Impossible to say but it's intriguing to consider that it might have.
I consider it a virtual certainty that Turkey would have jackaled on the corpse of a collapsing SU. So did the Allies, btw.
On the other hand the Wehrmacht is also stronger in 1942 compared to the OTL. It would have had an extra year to stockpile oil, ammunition and food.
The fundamental question is whose army strength would have been increasing faster - SU's or Germany's?

IMO there is no feasible picture in which Ostheer gains more strength than SU unless Germany has completely abandoned its plans to fight the West.
The Heer increased only marginally between Junes '40 and '41, Red Army's size more than doubled. That trend would have continued. Germany was scraping its manpower barrel to assemble the Barbarossa forces; the SU was on the upswing of its mobilization curve.

TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Jul 2020 02:11

There's a bigger-picture question for a '42 Barbarossa strategy: situating it in the larger war.

What's the end-game in Russia? Is it a one-season campaign enabling a pivot west in '43? Or are the Germans still fighting in the East at the end of '43?

IMO Germany needs Russia to be defeated or impotent by early '43 to have any chance of meeting the West's rising production.

Of course if the assumption is that the US never enters the war against Germany maybe not. But that seems far-fetched.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ChrisDR68 » 04 Jul 2020 13:27

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
03 Jul 2020 02:11
There's a bigger-picture question for a '42 Barbarossa strategy: situating it in the larger war.

What's the end-game in Russia? Is it a one-season campaign enabling a pivot west in '43? Or are the Germans still fighting in the East at the end of '43?

Short of Stalin's regime falling and being replaced by one that is willing to sign a peace treaty on almost any conditions (as the infant Soviet regime did at Brest-Litovsk in March 1918) then I think the best the Germans can hope for is a River Volga Reich frontier.

That's the only natural feature that is east of the Caucasus and Moscow and runs south to north that the Ostheer can build a fortified line behind. To reach it I think the Germans needed two campaigning seasons. By the end of 1943 Hitler could potentially have gained the three things he most wanted in Soviet Russia - lebensraum, the breadbasket of the Ukraine and the Caucasus with it's oilfields.

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The question of whether there then develops a de facto peace between Germany and the Soviet Union or whether Stalin continues the war in a quest to get these territories back is an open question that depends on several factors. These include the economic condition of the USSR at that point shorn of the Ukraine and Caucasus and the population loss in the conquered territories, how secure Stalin feels his own position to be, the general sentiment of those around him and what's happening in the wider world.

IMO Germany needs Russia to be defeated or impotent by early '43 to have any chance of meeting the West's rising production.

Of course if the assumption is that the US never enters the war against Germany maybe not. But that seems far-fetched.

My assumption is that the US doesn't seriously consider getting involved in the European war as an active belligerent until her war with Japan has been successfully concluded. Early 1944 would be my guess as to when that happened. What FDR decides to do at that point depends on what the majority sentiment is among the senators in Capitol Hill. Roosevelt himself would clearly want a declaration of war on Germany and a military campaign to liberate Europe (something he probably wanted as early as 1940). He'd still need to win a vote in congress to get it.

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by ljadw » 04 Jul 2020 14:26

Lebensraum, the breadbasket of Ukraine and the oil of the Caucasus would not help Germany to win the war against Britain and the USA .
And, if Germany won this war,the exploitation and colonisation of European Russia (= the territories west of the Urals ) would be impossible ,and,if possible, would destroy Germany's economy .

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Re: Operation Barbarossa Launched In May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Jul 2020 05:34

ChrisDR68 wrote:Short of Stalin's regime falling and being replaced by one that is willing to sign a peace treaty on almost any conditions (as the infant Soviet regime did at Brest-Litovsk in March 1918) then I think the best the Germans can hope for is a River Volga Reich frontier.
IMO that's not good enough. SU would still have a population of ~80mil and, with Lend-Lease help, would still have been able to put a ~4mil army in the field. That smaller Red Army isn't strong enough to beat a full Ostheer but it means Hitler needs ~2.5mil at the front permanently and >300k on occupation duty. So Germany is still in an indefinite two-front war.

If Germany takes the Urals, however, then Soviet population is at most ~40mil including Central Asia - which likely revolts or stops contributing to the war effort. That weaker SU probably can't deter Japan from blockading or taking Vladivostok, which means Lend Lease is a mere trickle through northwest Iran.
My assumption is that the US doesn't seriously consider getting involved in the European war as an active belligerent until her war with Japan has been successfully concluded. Early 1944 would be my guess as to when that happened. What FDR decides to do at that point depends on what the majority sentiment is among the senators in Capitol Hill.
Why make that assumption though?

After Pearl Harbor, isolationism was discredited regardless of a German DoW - the America First Committee dissolved itself on December 10, the day before Germany's DoW. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_First_Committee. The idea that America could ignore the rest of the world was over.

As discussed in multiple threads on AHF, the senatorial anti-war coalition lagged public opinion significantly in 1940-41 and, after Pearl Harbor, all isolationist senators would have been voted out in November '42 had they remained isolationist. Just look at Robert Taft, the "Mister Republican" who nearly lost his '44 re-election as a punishment for past isolationism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A. ... e-election

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