One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 24 Feb 2021 20:12

Why would Hitler withhold his declaration of war against the United States in this ATL? In the OTL he wanted to force the United States into a two-front war and free Japan to take Britain's Pacific colonies. In this ATL, Hitler is doing even better against the USSR than in the OTL, so it seems he would be even more inclined to have Japan ignore the USSR and go after the British Empire.

Likewise, why would Japan attack the USSR? While Japan historically wanted to attack the USSR, that all changed when the U.S. imposed its 1941 embargo on Japan. From that point forward, Japan was entirely focused on fighting the UK and USA in the Pacific. In this ATL, Japan would be even more free to ignore the USSR and send its army and navy elsewhere. While it would be more rational for Hitler and Japan to coordinate against the USSR as you are proposing, it would also be more rational for Stalin to focus everything on keeping Vladivostok open because that would be his only lifeline to the outside world. Once things look completely lost in the western USSR, Stalin would be incentivized to focus more forces in the eastern USSR to deter Japan from attacking. And Japan did not want to fight the USSR at the same time as the UK and the USA. In any event, it would never be rational for Stalin to give up the one thing keeping him alive - his army. The minute he does so, Germany and Japan occupy the entire Soviet Union and kill him.

Japan, in any event, would not last long against the United States. Its industrial output and naval production were puny compared to the United States, and the United States easily marched against the Pacific in 1943 and 1944 despite pursuing a Germany first policy. So Japan still falls in 1945 and the lifeline through Vladivostok and eventually Port Arthur remains open, and the Soviet Union is never truly out of the war. Stalin may remain relatively passive, but the Eastern Front is still a massive front that would require substantial manpower to guard (in addition to garrison).

The strain in Germany's pilot training program was due to the high losses the Luftewaffe suffered in the OTL. It would require another point of departure for Germany to see in advance the high combat losses the Luftewaffe would suffer and devote more resources to pilot training before the outbreak of the war. Capturing Baku in 1942 doesn't help the lack of trained pilots due to combat losses incurred up to that point (nor have you specified a timeline and quantities for Germany receiving oil from the Caucasus).

As I stated in another thread, early German success against the USSR would cause the United States to change its plans for 1942. An impending Soviet collapse would increase the urgency of the United States deploying forces to deprive Germany of its key resources from Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and the Caucasus. You have previously argued that the United States could not get to the Middle East fast enough, but if we consider that the shipping distance to Persia is not much more than the distance to Egypt the long way around Africa, and we know that the UK was able to deploy sufficient forces to counterattack and defeat Rommel by November 1942, then it seems reasonable that with a greater sense of urgency the UK could stay on the defensive in Egypt and shift more forces (together with the United States) to Persia in 1942, where, given the mountainous terrain, a defensive campaign could be mounted that would keep Allied forces within bomber range of Baku, until eventually port and rail facilities are built up to the point where the Allies would be an offensive threat to Baku and can supply the Red Army through the Central Asian Republics.

Likewise, the Allies could use their overwhelming naval superiority to cut off German forces in northern Norway, take Narvik and occupy the northern Swedish iron mines. Finland and Sweden were strongly intimidated by the Allies in the OTL, to the point where Finland halted its offensive because the United States threatened war if lend-lease supplies through Murmansk were attacked, and we can imagine the diplomatic pressure would be far more intense in this ATL. Sweden, unlike Norway, was mobilized for war and its population was pro-Allied, so Germany would have a tough time invading Sweden before the Allies while simultaneously fighting everywhere else in Europe.

Taft barely won re-election in his home state in 1944, so I'm not sure why you think the American public suddenly becomes anti-interventionist in this ATL. Pearl Harbor still happens. Nazi terror bombings of British cities still happen. U-boats sinking ships off the coast of the United States still happens. All of these things incensed the American public against Germany and Japan. It isn't plausible that Hitler would suddenly stop terror bombing civilians and going after merchant shipping, so the western public would still be incensed against this crazed lunatic trying to conquer the world, and of course they would remember that Hitler broke every treaty he ever signed. And of course, it would be in America's business and economic interest to secure the world against a new German power, so the big business interests behind the U.S. government would ensure that the United States dominated as much of the world as possible, and profited from bombing Germany into dust.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 21:21

Please slow down. You tend to present a question then immediately answer it with a declaration that, while in the technical form of being open to an answer (Why?) in reality forecloses the possibility of such an answer. This is why I've been a little less careful of tone in my replies. For example:
HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Why would Hitler withhold his declaration of war against the United States in this ATL? In the OTL he wanted to force the United States into a two-front war and free Japan to take Britain's Pacific colonies. In this ATL, Hitler is doing even better against the USSR than in the OTL, so it seems he would be even more inclined to have Japan ignore the USSR and go after the British Empire.
The second sentence answers the first, precluding a discussion of "Why?" or at least evincing that "Why?" is only rhetorical.

Hitler in History by Eberhard Jaeckel offers a more nuanced interpretation of the DoW on America. From page 71:
It was only because Japan appeared to be hesitating that Hitler extended his promises of
support in order to persuade Japan to enter the war, whether against Britain, as he would have preferred, or against
Russia or even America, which still seemed least desirable.
...can't reproduce the entirety of Jaeckel's text (DM me if interested) but he convincingly shows that Japan attacking the USA was not Hitler's preferred option - above is merely his conclusion. This piece of evidence/analysis is fairly weighty:
Recognizing the danger in this situation, Hitler stepped in once again and received Oshima in his headquarters on July
14. "If we can keep the United States out of the war at all," he said, "we will only be able to do so by destroying Russia
and only if Japan and Germany act simultaneously and unequivocally."18 Fear of American intervention and the desire
to keep America out of the war were still the cornerstones of Germany's Japanese policy. They remained so even when
America sided more and more openly with Britain and also supported the Soviet Union
Here's Jaeckel's conclusion on the issue:
It is a reasonable assumption that Hitler foresaw in December 1941 a development of the Second World War similar to
that of the First: Russia could be defeated and America would intervene. But Germany did not have to lose the war if
Japan took part in it. Japan could prevent America from all-out intervention in Europe by diverting that part of the
American and British forces which so very narrowly had determined the outcome in 1918. In order to guarantee this
sequence of events, Japan had to do more than enter the war. It had to be kept from pulling out before victory had been
won in Europe. It had to be kept from concluding an early peace as it had done with other opponents in 1895 and 1905,
in each instance in the second year of the war.
The treaty of December 11 to which Hitler attached so much importance, just like the earlier draft agreement of
December 5, was to serve that precise purpose. In return for entering the war, Germany received the promise that Japan
would not leave it.
From Hitler's point of view this was not an unreasonable idea and there is no need to assume irrational
motives. The declaration of war against the United States was an adequate step toward winning a war that essentially
was and remained a war of conquest against the Soviet Union, in spite of the failure of the campaign of 1941.
So on Jaeckel's reasoning, Hitler viewed the "no separate peace" agreement from Japan as critical to winning what had become a war of attrition in which the SU would last at least another year. Had Hitler not so viewed the SU's prospects, he would not have chosen voluntarily that which he took enormous steps to avoid - premature confrontation with America.

At the very least, Jaeckel convincingly shows (and it's IMO indisputable) that Hitler did not want to fight the USA during 1941, then suddenly reversed course late that year. We don't need to accept Jaeckel's particular interpretation to see that Barbarossa's failure was relevant to Hitler's strategic calculus re the USA.

And then of course: Had Hitler not perceived himself in a war of attrition involving Russia - had he perceived Russia as shortly to be defeated - degrees of strategic freedom would have been open to him.

--------------------------------------------------

Your other questions from the previous post I may get to or not. Honestly, please try to consider that I have responses occluded by your rapid runs from "Why?" to "Here's why not." I always prefer civil and open dialogue but it's gotta be actually open, with due space left for the possibility that you (or I) may be wrong or at least not fully aware of the landscape.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 22:10

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:As I stated in another thread, early German success against the USSR would cause the United States to change its plans for 1942. An impending Soviet collapse would increase the urgency of the United States deploying forces to deprive Germany of its key resources from Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and the Caucasus.
I'll address this briefly.

Have you read Coalition Planning for Strategic Warfare? It discusses W.Allied contingency planning for Sledgehammer - a US-proposed '42 invasion of Europe to avert Soviet collapse. It is relevant to these points.

The British were adamant that an invasion would not avert Soviet collapse and particularly adamant not to have an army on the continent when Ostheer suddenly became free. The Americans eventually had to give in, as most troops available to participate in Sledgehammer would have been British.

In other words, British willingness to commit forces to Europe would have declined as Soviet collapse appeared more likely. Did a similar dynamic exist for the US? Can't say directly but FDR and Ike definitely foresaw a good chance of Soviet survival when discussing Sledgehammer (obviously under OTL conditions). Can't see their enthusiasm for it increasing if the committed troops appeared like a "Hail Mary."
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 24 Feb 2021 23:49

Thanks for the link, that looks great. I'll give it a read.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 May 2021 06:09

An unresolved question in this ATL has been specifically how AGS takes Kiev. In another thread, I've shown what I've always expected based on the Soviet 1943 Kiev offensive: the ground northwest of Kiev could have supported a drive to encircle it more closely by crossing the Dniepr and Desna east of the Pripyat marshes.

As discussed in the other thread, AGS seized a bridgehead over the Dniepr on August 23 and reached the Desna by the 24th. That resolves any doubt as to whether the ground in this area could support rapid combat movements.

With this issue resolved, I can better sketch Stage 2 of the ATL Ukraine campaign:

Image

As you can see, after the Battle of Galicia destroys SWF's first incarnation, AGS is opposed primarily by reserve armies (16, 18, 19, 20) plus Soviet 5th Army still on its left flank and 9th Army (Southern Front) in Moldova. Except for 18th Army, each of the reserves were deployed historically against AGC around Smolensk. This is hypothetical, of course it's possible that one or more of the reserve armies go Belarus.

AGS has at least 19 mechanized divisions (22 if the reserves committed earlier), enabling it to execute a second Kesselschlacht in Right Bank Ukraine after the Galicia ends (July 7 per the sketch), while also committing strong mechanized forces to its left wing (subordinated to 6th Army) against Soviet 5th Army. 6th Army would get 4-6 mechanized divisions for this task.

The Right Bank battle is a straightforward double-envelopment by two panzer groups (PzGr1 and the ATL's additional PzGr5). After this battle, PzGr's 1&5 rapidly clear Right Bank Ukraine as in OTL post-Uman but earlier and against weaker opposition. They're probably able to seize a bridgehead or two as in OTL (Dnepropetrovsk and Kremenchug). The OTL PzGr's can then rest in the Right Bank as in OTL, except a month earlier (late July and early August instead of early September). By early August, the ID's and railheads have caught up to the Dniepr and AGS is poised to break out to Kharkov and Donbas.

On AGS's left wing, 6th Army drives Soviet 5th Army back north of Kiev, siezing a Dniepr bridgehead at Gornostaipol as in OTL or somewhere nearby. Once over the Dniepr, the mechanized divisions can drive northeast between Dniepr and Desna towards Gomel - into the rear of the forces facing AGC's right wing (OTL this was Central Front). The linked image only illustrates the general idea; the map's Soviet force dispositions would be very different.

Depending on circumstances, 6th Army could then envelop Kiev from the north pretty much on its own, as in OTL. If the Soviets cling to Kiev as in OTL, that's the likely outcome. As needed, 17th Army could participate via another bridgehead southeast of Kiev, completing the near encirclement of Kiev via infantry alone as happened OTL.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

In AGC's sector, AGS's destruction of SWF has removed at least a couple reserve armies from the Smolensk battle. It's infeasible, IMO, for Stalin simply to have abandoned Kiev in late June, which not reconstituting SWF would imply.

In addition, 6th Army's mechanized thrust northeastward from Gornostaipol clears AGC's right flank along the Pripyat and Dniepr areas (or the opposing forces stay put and are encircled).

As a result of these combined factors, the Battle of Smolensk is easier, cheaper, and quicker for AGC. In OTL, AGC reached a position to close its second massive Kessel by July 19, as an OKH map of the eastern pocket shows:

Image

RKKA was able to keep the pocket open for another two weeks because PzGr's 2&3 were overstretched, under-supplied, and massively outnumbered at this point.

None of this is true ATL because Western and Central Fronts lack at least a couple armies versus OTL. Either RKKA can't tie down XXIV and LVII Mot.Korps away from the main pocket or they do and the pocket's eastern end is weakly defended. Either way, AGC closes the Smolensk pocket by July 20 or so and the main Kesselschlacht is over by month's end. The OTL Kesselschlacht continued until August 5 with vicious fighting against forces never totally caught off from resupply.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Strategic assessment in early August, after ATL Stage 2

By adding Kesselschlachten in Ukraine (Galica, Right-Bank battle, Kiev) during Barbarossa's first ~40 days, Ostheer will have largely accomplished the goal of destroying the majority of the prewar RKKA west of the rough D-D line. The three AGS Kessels should yield at least 1mil PoW over OTL's ~700k by August 1* .

For now I am assuming that AGN's drive goes about as in OTL up to the end of July, as logistics probably constrained advancing more rapidly. From no later than August 1, however, RKKA's front-wide weakness implies that AGN faces much weaker opposition than OTL.

-----------------------
*PoW's adjusted by -14% due to OKH's later revision of 10-day reports.
-----------------------

RKKA's front strength would be ~1/3 lower than OTL at this point, taking ~3mil as the OTL figure. It would have been ~15% weaker as of early July, due to greater losses in Galicia (~500k marginal losses).

Ostheer casualties are accordingly slightly weaker in July and will be ~1/3 lower in August.

In addition, the following important strategic considerations:
  • Because Right Bank Ukraine, Kiev, and the area west of the Desna on AGC's right flank (Gomel, Chernigov etc.) have been occupied 4-6 weeks earlier, evacuations of men, grain, and capital have been reduced by at least a half.
  • Because the Soviets have not evacuated nearly as much from the above areas, Germany will capture millions more tons of stored or ripening grain in '41 and during the '42 campaign to seize stored grain from Ukraine.
  • Because Kiev and other Dniepr crossings have been seized earlier - up to two months earlier in Kiev's case - bridge reconstruction begins earlier. This will be critical to later campaign stages.
  • Because planning for a two-summer campaign implies better rail logistics, Ostheer will prepared for its third lunge in early August.
A sketch of that third lunge:

Image

AGN would probably be able to step off August 1 or so against significantly weaker opposition. Given the force ratios, RKKA won't have been able to mess around in the Veliky Luki - Lake Ilmen area much, needing forces on the Moscow axis. PzGr4 probably takes Schusselberg in the first week of August, no later than the 15th. Unlike in OTL, RKKA can't mount an attack on AGN's right flank that sucks the panzers back south of Lake Ilmen so PzGr4 can regroup and meet the Finns on the Svir by mid-September. AGN has 6 mechanized divisions at this point.

For AGC I've sketch basically an August Taifun with PzGr's 2&3 doing Vyazma while AOK 2, reinforced by the mech divs that went north of Kiev in Stage 2, execute something like OTL Bryansk. From there, taking Moscow in September is straightforward. AGC has 22 mechanized divisions at this point.

Right Bank Ukraine is cleared by AOK 6 pushing east from Kiev and AOK 17 pushing over its Dniepr bridgeheads.

East of the Dniepr Bend, PzGr's 1&5 (16 mechanized divisions) do a double-envelopment west of the Donets, centered around Donetsk. One PzGr proceeds from an expanded Dnepropetrovsk bridgehead, another from the Nogai Steppe. Although there's no rail bridge over the Dniepr yet, the 300km practical truck zone extends all the way to Luhansk (Voroshilovgrad) from the Dniepr.

AOK 11 pushes into Crimea.

----------------------------------------------------

With that setup it's easy to see SU losing L'Grad, Moscow, Rostov in September and more in October. By Rasputitsa's onset, its territorial population will be ~30% lower and it will have lost >2mil more PoW's than OTL. Ostheer's losses from July onwards will be significantly lower, its flow of material/personnel replacements and supplies more secure.

Under that condition, RKKA can't stop Ostheer during the muddy period or the winter. Even if Ostheer does not conduct grand operational encirclements after October, it will continue to capture ~0.5% of RKKA as PoW's every day, as AGC did OTL in late fall, and will gobble up critical Russian territory east of Moscow. A January offensive from the Don, enabled by 4-5 months work on AGS's rail network, will take Stalingrad, Maikop, and Grozny. The slow push forward in AGC/AGN sectors, during which most mechanized forces will rest/refit for Spring, will reach a line Belomorsk-Onega-Volga-Gronzy-Voronezh-Don.

By Spring '42, SU will be down to ~60% of OTL population, will have lower grain reserves, will be facing a Japan no longer wary of angering the SU, and will have lost its rail connection to Murmansk.

Ostheer will have suffered ~400k fewer casualties and will have benefitted from consistently high production in the previous year (vs. OTL's cuts to army production from mid-summer '41 and the rail-induced economic catastrophe of winter).

The 1942 Ostheer offensive will be a mopping up campaign towards Baku and the Urals. Hitler will probably detach 3 or so mechanized divisions to Rommel and an ID or two take Malta, but it won't matter - SU will be a rump Asian state by late-summer lacking significant oil production and connections to the outside world (Japan announces all Allied-financed goods are blocked from Vladivostok, regardless of who carries them).

As Hitler can now move east of the Urals with only 50 or so divisions, Stalin agrees to a peace that leaves him internally in control - the only thing he cares about. He agrees to Axis access to the Trans-Siberian railway and resumes trade with Germany on unfavorable terms. To justify another agreement with Stalin, Hitler announces that Bolshevism has been eradicated from Europe and the "Asiatics" can have it if they want it.

---------------------------------------------------

As these narratives involve too many factors for the human brain to juggle effectively in common conversation, I've begun a simple model that keeps track of casualties and force ratios. Here's where I am so far:

Image

I'll discuss the model's content further here or in a specific thread. The basic arithmetic is:

[casualties at Time 2] = [Enemy force at Time 2 ATL] / [Enemy force at Time 2 OTL] * [OTL casualties]

Where

[Enemy force at Time 2 ATL] = [Enemy Force at Time 2 OTL] - ( [Casualties at Time 1 ATL] - [Casualties at Time 1 OTL] )

--------------------------------

TMP bookmark: 1mPG ATL Stage 2-3
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by History Learner » 01 May 2021 19:39

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
Others are invited, as always, to suggest their own minimal conditions for a successful Barbarossa.
I think I suggested it before, but I'm having trouble finding my posts on the matter; what about if 12th Army had remained in Romania and the planned pincer on the Soviet forces you outline in the OP had proceeded? Basically, no Greek/Yugoslav diversion with them.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 May 2021 02:28

History Learner wrote:
01 May 2021 19:39
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
Others are invited, as always, to suggest their own minimal conditions for a successful Barbarossa.
I think I suggested it before, but I'm having trouble finding my posts on the matter; what about if 12th Army had remained in Romania and the planned pincer on the Soviet forces you outline in the OP had proceeded? Basically, no Greek/Yugoslav diversion with them.
Maybe a topic for a new ATL?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by History Learner » 02 May 2021 02:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 May 2021 02:28
History Learner wrote:
01 May 2021 19:39
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
Others are invited, as always, to suggest their own minimal conditions for a successful Barbarossa.
I think I suggested it before, but I'm having trouble finding my posts on the matter; what about if 12th Army had remained in Romania and the planned pincer on the Soviet forces you outline in the OP had proceeded? Basically, no Greek/Yugoslav diversion with them.
Maybe a topic for a new ATL?
Maybe, I've been reading some of Per70's old posts and its brought to my attention Martin Van Creveld's book Hitler's Strategy 1940-1941: the Balkan Clue. Creveld argues that Operation Lustre engendered Hitler's decision in March to cancel the planned two-pronged attack by AGS, which is basically what you outline in your OP just with 12th Army doing it instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 May 2021 08:37

History Learner wrote:instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.
As I've posted upthread, the armaments cost of a panzer division was ~RM 50mil, so the 5 new divisions I propose would cost ~RM 250mil - double that to account for non-armament equipment to be safe. In 1941, Germany spent ~71bn on the war.

Image
(Harrison citing Klein - we can debate about this figure 10% here or there but it doesn't influence the broad point).

The ~85k recruits that would man the divisions are not quite 2% of the >5mil that Germany would draft after May 31, 1941.

In that light, I'm always perplexed by the incredulity with which the concept of "5 more panzer divisions" is received. There are many stories about how Germany achieved its later higher production and higher soldier count; foreign labor and the laxness with which Germany pursued it after France's defeat is sufficient easily to allow 5x the increment proposed here.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by History Learner » 02 May 2021 20:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 May 2021 08:37
History Learner wrote:instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.
As I've posted upthread, the armaments cost of a panzer division was ~RM 50mil, so the 5 new divisions I propose would cost ~RM 250mil - double that to account for non-armament equipment to be safe. In 1941, Germany spent ~71bn on the war.

Image
(Harrison citing Klein - we can debate about this figure 10% here or there but it doesn't influence the broad point).

The ~85k recruits that would man the divisions are not quite 2% of the >5mil that Germany would draft after May 31, 1941.

In that light, I'm always perplexed by the incredulity with which the concept of "5 more panzer divisions" is received. There are many stories about how Germany achieved its later higher production and higher soldier count; foreign labor and the laxness with which Germany pursued it after France's defeat is sufficient easily to allow 5x the increment proposed here.
I don't disagree with your premise, my point is that I wonder if it can be done even easier than that presented. Would 12th Army conducting a pincer in support of the rest of AGS work out the same or close enough to your scenario, basically.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 02 May 2021 21:49

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 May 2021 08:37
History Learner wrote:instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.
As I've posted upthread, the armaments cost of a panzer division was ~RM 50mil, so the 5 new divisions I propose would cost ~RM 250mil - double that to account for non-armament equipment to be safe. In 1941, Germany spent ~71bn on the war.

Image
(Harrison citing Klein - we can debate about this figure 10% here or there but it doesn't influence the broad point).

The ~85k recruits that would man the divisions are not quite 2% of the >5mil that Germany would draft after May 31, 1941.

In that light, I'm always perplexed by the incredulity with which the concept of "5 more panzer divisions" is received. There are many stories about how Germany achieved its later higher production and higher soldier count; foreign labor and the laxness with which Germany pursued it after France's defeat is sufficient easily to allow 5x the increment proposed here.
It's not about the dollar (or reichsmark) cost. It's about finding the real means of production (labor, capital and raw materials) to make it happen. Volume IV/I of DRZW makes it clear that Germany was scraping the bottom of the barrel of its raw materials and labor in 1940/1941. How is Germany going to find the real inputs to equip 5 new panzer divisions when in the OTL it couldn't fully equip all of its infantry divisions for Barbarossa, and many of them were relying on captured Allied equipment?

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by History Learner » 02 May 2021 22:20

historygeek2021 wrote:
02 May 2021 21:49
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 May 2021 08:37
History Learner wrote:instead of creating another PzGr whole cloth.
As I've posted upthread, the armaments cost of a panzer division was ~RM 50mil, so the 5 new divisions I propose would cost ~RM 250mil - double that to account for non-armament equipment to be safe. In 1941, Germany spent ~71bn on the war.

Image
(Harrison citing Klein - we can debate about this figure 10% here or there but it doesn't influence the broad point).

The ~85k recruits that would man the divisions are not quite 2% of the >5mil that Germany would draft after May 31, 1941.

In that light, I'm always perplexed by the incredulity with which the concept of "5 more panzer divisions" is received. There are many stories about how Germany achieved its later higher production and higher soldier count; foreign labor and the laxness with which Germany pursued it after France's defeat is sufficient easily to allow 5x the increment proposed here.
It's not about the dollar (or reichsmark) cost. It's about finding the real means of production (labor, capital and raw materials) to make it happen. Volume IV/I of DRZW makes it clear that Germany was scraping the bottom of the barrel of its raw materials and labor in 1940/1941. How is Germany going to find the real inputs to equip 5 new panzer divisions when in the OTL it couldn't fully equip all of its infantry divisions for Barbarossa, and many of them were relying on captured Allied equipment?
Ransack France, which is something of a specific scenario I have in mind right now.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 May 2021 02:22

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Volume IV/I of DRZW makes it clear that Germany was scraping the bottom of the barrel of its raw materials and labor in 1940/1941.
Don't even know where to begin but I'm guessing you mean v.6/1 instead of v.4/1. You've obviously read DRZW to tell you what you want and/or didn't read much at all.

Adam Tooze and others have made critique's of DRZW's (Rolf-Dieter Mueller's) "voluntarism" central to their scholarly careers. Tooze explicity juxtaposes Mueller (a "voluntarist") against himself:
Wagenführ's production index has given rise to a grossly
exaggerated story of productivity failure in the early years of the war. And
this in turn underpins the voluntarism that is the common theme in both
Richard Overy and Rolf-Dieter Müller's
accounts of the German war econ-
omy. On the basis of Wagenführ's figures it is hard to escape the conclusion
that armaments production was chiefly a matter of will power and organi-
zation
Simply reading the table of contents to GSWW v.6/1 hits you on the head that Germany wasn't "scraping the bottom":
II.1 . The Abortive Mobilization of September 1939

IV. THE VICTOR’S HUBRIS: GERMANY LOSES ITS LEAD
IN ARMAMENTS AFTER THE FRENCH CAMPAIGN
  • 1. Mobilization Discontinued Once More
  • 2. Adjustment to a Postwar Economy
V. . THE CRIPPLING OF ARMAMENTS PRODUCTION
Within v.4, the same theme of laxity in army production:
Since the backlog in the army’s equipment for the eastern
campaign was not regarded either by Hitler or by the Army High Command
as sufficiently serious
to warrant special steps for the preparation and execution of that campaign,
the Wehrmacht High Command encountered no
opposition when it demanded priority for Luftwaffe and naval armaments at
the expense of the land forces. Top priority was to be given, in Jodi’s view, to
anything needed for the ‘ siege of Britain: U-boats, torpedoes, mines, and light
naval forces, bombers, and air-dropped ammunition’; next came the strengthening of
air defences in Germany, while the army’s requirements came only in
third place.*'* In Jodi’s opinion the operations in the east could be ‘easily
conducted’ with the material strength available.
There was,
however, thanks to an accumulated stockpile in certain areas, some latitude in
light weapons, ammunition, and army equipment, so that production efforts
could be focused on areas o f deficiency. Because the Army High Command
did not consider a major effort necessary for the campaign in the east
, the chief
of ground-force armaments accepted the new armaments programme,
labelled ‘B ’, which only slightly exceeded the programme of 9 July 1940, now
named ‘A ’ . In his deliberations, therefore, he did not proceed, from an ideal
target for equipping the 1941 field army:, instead, the army weapons department
examined manufacturing facilities to determine what production could
be accomplished by 31 March 1941. Next, the army’s general department was
to examine ‘to what extent the shortfall can be made good by drawing on
booty or by a cut in equipment’ .3
Having the Tooze thesis cited at me here is frequent. This is the first time, however, that someone has attributed the Tooze thesis to one of Tooze's primary opponents.

I'm happy to discuss the early-war German economy but it'd be much more productive if you first figure out whose side in the debate you're taking.

Even more productive would be to produce your own thoughts rather than simply taking a side. The performance of the early-war German economy is a live controversy with highly-accredited experts on each side (Tooze, Scherner et al vs. Overy, Harrison, Mueller et al). More discussion here.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 03 May 2021 02:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 May 2021 02:40

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:How is Germany going to find the real inputs to equip 5 new panzer divisions when in the OTL it couldn't fully equip all of its infantry divisions for Barbarossa, and many of them were relying on captured Allied equipment?
The answer to this question is given in GSWW v.4, cited above. Here again for emphasis:
In his deliberations, therefore, [Heer armaments chief] did not proceed, from an ideal
target for equipping the 1941 field army:, instead, the army weapons department
examined manufacturing facilities to determine what production could
be accomplished by 31 March 1941. Next, the army’s general department was
to examine ‘to what extent the shortfall can be made good by drawing on
booty or by a cut in equipment’ .3
...so against a background laxness regarding Barbarossa's armaments program, OKH simply used booty to fill in gaps and accepted gaps elsewhere.

Because, once more, Germany did not take the Soviet Union seriously. There was no more reason to plan a strenuous, disruptive army armaments program than there was minimally to plan for an extended campaign.

If one doesn't understand these facts, one can't understand why WW2 went the way it did and why the world is today as it is.

But anyone making that mistake is in good company; it's the predominant blindspot in the historiography. The broad history of that historiography is (1) German generals whitewash their crimes and errors, blame everything on Hitler, weather, and Russian hordes and (2) later writers, averse to any suggestion that Germany could have won, write only to prove that thesis. The later writers wised up to the German generals' lies about their moral guilt but not sufficiently regarding their professional incompetence.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by historygeek2021 » 03 May 2021 05:06

The discussion is in DRZW Volume IV, Part I, Section III, Part 4: "The Equipment of the Eastern Army" by Rolf-Dieter Müller.

Table I.III.5 lists the 88 OstHeer divisions that had to be equipped with captured enemy vehicles.

Müller notes that the decision making process for armaments production between the fall of France and the start of Barbarossa was a confused, bureaucratic mess, with the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe taking priority over the army in many areas. Trucks, in particular, were assigned a very low priority. Thus, there is room for increased army production between the fall of France and the start of Barbarossa if Germany had decided to go all out on equipping the OstHeer shortly after the fall of France. Would that be enough time to equip five new panzer divisions by June 1941?

I see now looking back at the original post that your ATL posits an earlier point of departure:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
The extra tanks come from not cutting the panzer program from 1,200 to 600 by mid-1940 during the 1939 financial crisis. Instead, cuts are made to the Z-plan and, if necessary, to the Ju-88 program. Projecting that higher rate of production forward, it's quite easy to get to 1,000 more tanks by mid-1941. A bigger panzer program should be attended by greater oversight and analysis. To that end I specify that the Germans begin rationalization of panzer production earlier than OTL by taking later-war steps such as using flow production instead of station production and by loosening up the Wehrmacht's counterproductive quality standards. Labor costs for a Panzer III declined by 50% OTL due to these steps; it's a matter of historical contingency that they did not happen earlier. The extra trucks represent ~6% of those available for Barbarossa. They can come from (1) greater production flowing from greater strategic priority for the Heer, (2) greater overall production from rationalization and better use of occupied Europe (i.e. for labor primarily), (2) the civilian economy, (3) sending only one division with Rommel to Africa, (4) some combination of the foregoing.
I agree that if Germany had a rational system for allocating armaments production combined with better intelligence on the military capabilities of the Soviet Union, then with cuts to other areas it should be feasible to form an extra 5 panzer divisions by June 1941.

I would be curious as to how Germany could raise the necessary trucks (20,000 according to your original post), given that Germany produced only 62,400 trucks in 1941, and many of these were needed for the civilian economy. Also note that 1940 was the nadir for German rubber supplies - would Germany have enough rubber to produce the necessary trucks?

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 1up&seq=97
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... up&seq=189

It seems then the real questions are:

(1) Why didn't Germany have a rational bureaucratic system in place for managing armaments production?
(2) Why was Germany unaware of the military potential of the Soviet Union?
(3) If Germany had been aware of the military potential of the Soviet Union, would they still have embarked on Operation Barbarossa?

I think the answers are:

(1) Hitler's style of leadership necessitated chaos at all levels of government below him, in order to secure his own hold on power. Thus, it seems an ATL featuring a rational German leadership requires no Hitler (and probably none of the other historical figures in power in Germany in the 1930s). Hitler came to power amid intense internal power struggles between communists, socialists, the rural far right, trade unionists, aristocratic militarists, and big business. An efficient, competent government capable of smoothly wielding a continent conquering military simply was not possible under the internal political conditions of 1930s Germany.

(2) Germany's diplomatic staff in the Soviet Union were aware of the Soviet Union's military potential, but their concerns were ignored due to the issue identified in Question (1) - Germany lacked a rational bureaucracy for making important military and economic decisions. It also seems that the diplomatic staff failed to provide any hard data on the Soviet military potential (e.g., manpower pool, armaments production, etc.). Thus, the wider intelligence failure seems to go hand in hand with the issue in Question 1 - the Nazi system of government had little to offer to potential sources of information in other countries, and many in the German intelligence community were actively working against their own country and helping the Soviet spy ring in Switzerland (e.g. Oster, Fellgiebel). I would add that even if Germany had competent leadership, it still would have struggled in the espionage department due to little to offer to sources of information in other countries - if not motivated by ideology, they would want money, and Germany would have little to offer no matter who was leading it in the 1930s.

(3) If Hitler had been aware, he still would have embarked on Operation Barbarossa because he (correctly) believed the Soviet Union was at its weakest in 1941. After 1941, the coalition of the USA, USSR and UK would get stronger and stronger. The earlier Hitler was aware, the earlier he could have switched armaments production toward the army ... but that leads to Question 4:

(4) If Germany had efficiently allocated armaments production toward the army, how would the Soviet Union react? The Soviet Union's intelligence network was aware of German plans (even plans for the invasion). But Germany's high allocation of resources toward the war against Britain must have made an impression on Stalin. The main reason Stalin gave for not mobilizing the Red Army in response to the OstHeer's buildup was that he believed Germany would never embark on a two-front war while still at war against Britain. And given the high priority accorded to the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe, Stalin was in a sense correct. If Germany had much more blatantly allocated resources to the army, would Stalin have in turn hastened the mobilization of the Red Army? To avoid giving cause for a German invasion, Stalin likely would have ordered mobilization to take place inland, away from the border, with the result that the Soviets may have been able to mount a successful defense at the Stalin Line.

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