The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

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KDF33
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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by KDF33 » 31 Mar 2021 15:00

stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
AG-Center was doing even better with 161,340 replacements including those from the march battalions vs. 198,398 casualties, so nearly 82% of casualties replaced. Liedtke does some maths and comes up with the figure of over 90% of combat strength retained assuming all replacements were directed toward combat battalions.
The figure of 198,398 casualties is only for combat losses, though. There were a further 161,800 non-combat losses in June-September, although only an unspecified part were taken by Heeresgruppe Mitte. Generally, I have found that Liedtke doesn't take account of non-combat losses in his calculations. E.g., his take on the 1942 campaign.
stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
Also remember none of those numbers covers wounded returning to units, which were not counted as replacements.
Those figures definitely cover returned wounded. See here. They include Ersatz ("replacements") and Genesene ("recovered").
stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
This is where Nigel Askey's books come in as he covers the full spectrum of losses (including sick and unfit for non-combat reasons, which was nearly 400,000 men by the end of December) and recovered/replacements; 509,000 sick/wounded men were returned to units from July-December 1941, so counting replacements/recuperated vs. all losses for Barbarossa forces there was only a shortage of 223,587 men by the end of December 1941, aka considerably less than 10% of Barbarossa forces. P.178 of his volume IIB of the Operation Barbarossa series with a table breaking everything down by month.
I have seen that. That's one of the most egregious mistakes made by Askey. The idea that the Ostheer was short by just 223,587 men at the end of the year is ludicrous, and also contradicted by German primary documents detailing the Iststärke of their armies:

June 1941: 2,765,276
July: 2,650,626
August: 2,579,879
September: 2,539,110
October: 2,381,347
November: 2,362,463
December: 2,112,002

Strength decreases by a little over 100,000 per month, which matches known casualties and replacements.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by stg 44 » 31 Mar 2021 15:56

KDF33 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 15:00
stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
AG-Center was doing even better with 161,340 replacements including those from the march battalions vs. 198,398 casualties, so nearly 82% of casualties replaced. Liedtke does some maths and comes up with the figure of over 90% of combat strength retained assuming all replacements were directed toward combat battalions.
The figure of 198,398 casualties is only for combat losses, though. There were a further 161,800 non-combat losses in June-September, although only an unspecified part were taken by Heeresgruppe Mitte. Generally, I have found that Liedtke doesn't take account of non-combat losses in his calculations. E.g., his take on the 1942 campaign.
Sure, which is why I cited Askey as well you adds in another roughly 400k for June-December for non-combat losses.
KDF33 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 15:00
stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
Also remember none of those numbers covers wounded returning to units, which were not counted as replacements.
Those figures definitely cover returned wounded. See here. They include Ersatz ("replacements") and Genesene ("recovered").
Your chart doesn't cover most of 1941 though, just December and on and is different than the one that HG posted.
The DRZW chart that historygeek posted did include wounded returned estimates them at exactly 20,000 per month every month. Askey has a larger, more complex estimate with justifications for his calculations.

It isn't simply returned wounded that came back though, but also the sick and people out for other reasons. Not only that but the Genesene AFAIK doesn't cover returned wounded who were not evacuated from the theater for longer term treatment, which only included those that took 8 weeks or more to recover (IIRC the number of weeks). So some wounded counted as casualties, but were not evacuated and only later returned, but stayed with the army for a shorter recovery before returning to their units. German casualty accounting is rather complex.
KDF33 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 15:00
stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
This is where Nigel Askey's books come in as he covers the full spectrum of losses (including sick and unfit for non-combat reasons, which was nearly 400,000 men by the end of December) and recovered/replacements; 509,000 sick/wounded men were returned to units from July-December 1941, so counting replacements/recuperated vs. all losses for Barbarossa forces there was only a shortage of 223,587 men by the end of December 1941, aka considerably less than 10% of Barbarossa forces. P.178 of his volume IIB of the Operation Barbarossa series with a table breaking everything down by month.
I have seen that. That's one of the most egregious mistakes made by Askey. The idea that the Ostheer was short by just 223,587 men at the end of the year is ludicrous, and also contradicted by German primary documents detailing the Iststärke of their armies:

June 1941: 2,765,276
July: 2,650,626
August: 2,579,879
September: 2,539,110
October: 2,381,347
November: 2,362,463
December: 2,112,002

Strength decreases by a little over 100,000 per month, which matches known casualties and replacements.
Several divisions were rotated out during this time as well, which also accounts for the reduction in strength. Like 1st cavalry division, which left the theater IIRC in September to be upgraded into a panzer division.
Plus Iststärke isn't actual strength necessarily either:
https://panzerworld.com/german-unit-str ... efinitions
Iststärke (actual strength)
The Iststärke, usually written as Ist (is), was the actual number of personnel supported by the unit, regardless of their status. This included personnel on leave, lend out to other units, and those wounded or fallen sich in the past eight weeks.

The difference between the Soll and the Ist was referred to as Fehlstellen (unfilled positions), usually written as Fehl. If a unit was overstrength, it was referred to as über Soll (in excess of authorized strength). It could be possible for a unit to have one section that had unfilled positions and another that was overstrength, but the Fehl only counted the net difference.
So units in June might not have been the actual numbers on hand and later on corrected downwards.
Why the drop off in September-October given the relative dearth of fighting? 150k is a lot since there was a LOT of fighting in August to September, but only a 40k drop off.

Qvist noted something similar for 1942 in the link you provided:
The FHO report is in general extremely strange. Not only does it start from 3.3 million (hence including all the OKH reserves that were actually deployed over several months) and hence gives a quite misleading impression of strength development in 1941, it shows a gradually declining strength until August 1942, and then a rise until October - which as far as 1942 is concerned is almost precisely the opposite of the trend shown by other figures and also supported by the general balance between Abgänge and force additions. How, for instance, could strength possibly drop in April compared to March, in a month with very low casualties, record-level replacements and a flow of new divisions? It doesn't make any sense. It's not exactly confidence-inspiring either that the strength drops in a straight line, by exactly 100,000 every month. I'm more than a little inclined to suspect this is a report based on estimate, and a poor estimate at that.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by historygeek2021 » 31 Mar 2021 20:48

KDF33 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 06:00
historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 04:33
DRZW states that by the second half of August, the combat strength of the OstHeer's infantry divisions had fallen to 60 percent, and that of the mobile divisions had fallen to 50%.
That makes little sense, though. Combat and non-combat losses for June - August amounted to 500,859 men, and replacements to 175,000. This would imply that total combat strength of the Ostheer amounted to ~800,000 men out of a total of ~3 million. Given how just the 88 Infanterie divisions deployed had an establishment strength of 858,000 men in their infantry regiments, I don't see how this can be true, unless the definition of "combat strength" used is ridiculously narrow.
Based on the link stg44 gave:
Kampfstärke (combat strength)

The Kampfstärke was the strength of the personnel available for actual combat. This excluded the drivers of all non-combat vehicles, horse keepers, administrative personnel, staff of artillery and mortar regiments, and staff of tank destroyer and engineer battalions. Excluded was also signal personnel that did not work either directly alongside, or received signals from, units that were part of the combat strength.

The number included the staff companies at the regimental level and below, messengers, field replacement units, as well as field medical personnel.
https://panzerworld.com/german-unit-str ... efinitions

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by historygeek2021 » 31 Mar 2021 21:41

stg 44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:14
historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 04:33
How do you arrive at the 90% replacement figure? This chart from DRZW Volume V shows that only 23% of OstHeer losses were replaced through July 1941, and only 37% through August 1941.

DRZW states that by the second half of August, the combat strength of the OstHeer's infantry divisions had fallen to 60 percent, and that of the mobile divisions had fallen to 50%.
Fair question, the answer is that the number you quote doesn't cover all replacements, especially all those in the 'march battalions'. Those on average had 790 per battalion before the fighting even started. For AG-North 24 of their 28 divisions had such a battalion. They covered a bit over 2/3rds of AG-North's losses in June and July. On top of that AG-North received 35,000 replacements from June-August and another 20,000 in September. In their situation this meant that the average infantry battalion was still at 78% strength by October and for motorized battalions it was 82% as their losses were generally lower and they were favored for replacements. That's based on averages given replacements and casualties for the AG. That is all from Liedtke's "Enduring the Whirlwind". AG-North still had 73% of their starting armor strength during the encirclement of Leningrad in September.

AG-Center was doing even better with 161,340 replacements including those from the march battalions vs. 198,398 casualties, so nearly 82% of casualties replaced. Liedtke does some maths and comes up with the figure of over 90% of combat strength retained assuming all replacements were directed toward combat battalions.

Also remember none of those numbers covers wounded returning to units, which were not counted as replacements. This is where Nigel Askey's books come in as he covers the full spectrum of losses (including sick and unfit for non-combat reasons, which was nearly 400,000 men by the end of December) and recovered/replacements; 509,000 sick/wounded men were returned to units from July-December 1941, so counting replacements/recuperated vs. all losses for Barbarossa forces there was only a shortage of 223,587 men by the end of December 1941, aka considerably less than 10% of Barbarossa forces. P.178 of his volume IIB of the Operation Barbarossa series with a table breaking everything down by month.

DRZW apparently only counts a very specific category of replacement and makes some very flawed assumptions based on that.
According to DRZW, there were only 90,000 men in field replacement battalions at the start of the campaign. Despite using them all up, there were still 132,000 vacancies in the OstHeer at the start of August.

Even if we include the 20,000 recovered wounded each month, that is still a replacement rate of only 37.9% by the end of July, and 50.34% by the end of August (and this does not taken into account the massive numbers of sick OstHeer personnel who were not evacuated to rear areas).

We are left with the inescapable conclusion of DRZW that by the end of August the combat strength of the OstHeer's infantry divisions had fallen to 60%, and the combat strength of the panzer and motorized divisions had fallen to 50%.

Thus, Stolfi's proposal for Army Group Center to dash ahead into the most powerful concentration of Soviet forces on the Eastern Front, leaving Army Group North and Army Group South to stall out their advances, thereby creating a massive salient stretching from Gomel to Moscow and then back to Velikiye Luki, while the Soviet Union is pouring all its newly created reserve armies around the flanks of an overstretched and badly understrength Army Group Center ... seems like a recipe for the disaster at Stalingrad to take place a year earlier at Moscow.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by stg 44 » 01 Apr 2021 15:09

historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 21:41
According to DRZW, there were only 90,000 men in field replacement battalions at the start of the campaign. Despite using them all up, there were still 132,000 vacancies in the OstHeer at the start of August.
Which are not counted as replacements in the chart or most sources discussing Barbarossa replacement flows. Can you cite the page in the book with the number of vacancies so I can see the context? Out of a starting force of nominally over 3 million men 132,000 vacancies is extremely low given the scale of the fighting to that point and results achieved. Even taking KDF's Iststarke number for June of 2.7 million that is 4.8% meaning as of August Barbarossa forces were still at 95.2% of their pre-invasion strength. That is even higher than what I claimed.
historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 21:41
Even if we include the 20,000 recovered wounded each month, that is still a replacement rate of only 37.9% by the end of July, and 50.34% by the end of August (and this does not taken into account the massive numbers of sick OstHeer personnel who were not evacuated to rear areas).
As I read the chart it says an estimated 20,000 returned combat wounded (not sick or unfit for non-combat causes) of men treated within their armies who were never evacuated. That is on top of recuperated wounded who left their armies for longer term treatment and were shipped back in later, which Askey claims is a specific number per month; I have sent him an email so as soon as I get clarification for his source on the claimed number of returned recovered I will post the info here. Askey did document the number of sick/unfit in total, which was about 395,000 from June-December 1941. Over 90% of them returned to their units in less than 30 days.
historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 21:41
We are left with the inescapable conclusion of DRZW that by the end of August the combat strength of the OstHeer's infantry divisions had fallen to 60%, and the combat strength of the panzer and motorized divisions had fallen to 50%.
I don't see how that is accurate given that 132,000 vacancies in August is only 4.8% of the Iststarke of June. Also you haven't demonstrated that all the vacancies were in combat arms either or that it was for infantry in particular. What page of the DRZW volume are you citing for those percentages?
historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 21:41
Thus, Stolfi's proposal for Army Group Center to dash ahead into the most powerful concentration of Soviet forces on the Eastern Front, leaving Army Group North and Army Group South to stall out their advances, thereby creating a massive salient stretching from Gomel to Moscow and then back to Velikiye Luki, while the Soviet Union is pouring all its newly created reserve armies around the flanks of an overstretched and badly understrength Army Group Center ... seems like a recipe for the disaster at Stalingrad to take place a year earlier at Moscow.
AG-North would be helping by destroying the Northwest Front and 22nd army of the Western Front on the flank of AG-Center while the majority of the infantry corps hold the Luga Line. AG-South would breach the Dniepr line and exploit that breach per OTL, which was achieved without the help of Guderian since his forces only fought Central and Bryansk Fronts to that point. It was only during the exploitation phase of AG-South's breach of the Dniepr line that Guderian started hitting Southwest Front from the north, but AG-South didn't necessarily need their help, Guderian just sped up the collapse of SW Front. So the flanks wouldn't be stalled or endangered given that Guderian and von Weichs defeated Central and Bryansk Front historically and would be fighting them on the flank here too while helping close/liquidate the Vyazma pocket in August. At that point Central Front was basically defeated anyway and being overrun by von Weichs while Bryansk Front was still forming and what units it did throw against Guderian's flank in his march to Ukraine in August-September were defeated with little effort.

Any reserve armies being created, most of which were immediately occupied against AG-North and South anyway, would be of limited ability to attack and given their history during defense they aren't particularly combat capable, just speed bumps. So the flank threat is heavily exaggerated given actual Soviet historical combat capabilities. Read Glantz's Stumbling Colossus about how bad things were in June and then realize by August Soviet abilities had degraded to levels much worse than even in June and they were desperately throwing the kitchen sink at German forces to little/no avail.

I hate to break it to you, but August 1941 is not November 1942, not least of which due to the lack of experience, Lend-Lease (didn't start until October), and a well grooved mobilization system. Nor is the German army anywhere near as worn down in August-September 1941 as they were by November 1942 after the fighting in Stalingrad and the preceding 16 months worth of losses. You're vastly overestimating Soviet capabilities and overstating German losses.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by historygeek2021 » 01 Apr 2021 21:01

stg 44 wrote:
01 Apr 2021 15:09

Which are not counted as replacements in the chart or most sources discussing Barbarossa replacement flows. Can you cite the page in the book with the number of vacancies so I can see the context? Out of a starting force of nominally over 3 million men 132,000 vacancies is extremely low given the scale of the fighting to that point and results achieved. Even taking KDF's Iststarke number for June of 2.7 million that is 4.8% meaning as of August Barbarossa forces were still at 95.2% of their pre-invasion strength. That is even higher than what I claimed.

As I read the chart it says an estimated 20,000 returned combat wounded (not sick or unfit for non-combat causes) of men treated within their armies who were never evacuated. That is on top of recuperated wounded who left their armies for longer term treatment and were shipped back in later, which Askey claims is a specific number per month; I have sent him an email so as soon as I get clarification for his source on the claimed number of returned recovered I will post the info here. Askey did document the number of sick/unfit in total, which was about 395,000 from June-December 1941. Over 90% of them returned to their units in less than 30 days.

I don't see how that is accurate given that 132,000 vacancies in August is only 4.8% of the Iststarke of June. Also you haven't demonstrated that all the vacancies were in combat arms either or that it was for infantry in particular. What page of the DRZW volume are you citing for those percentages?
The discussion of the OstHeer's manpower problems begins on page 1009 of Volume V/IB. The cite for combat strength is page 1011.

On page 1014, DRZW states that only 49% of sick troops returned to duty within one month, and another 23% after 2 months.

If you compare the charts on page 1112 (ratio of sick to wounded) and page 1020 (departures and arrivals), you will see that the number of sick in July was roughly 1.75 times the number of wounded, which gives roughly another 300,000 men each month who were out of action due to sickness. Even if most of them returned to readiness in a month or two, there are still roughly 300,000 cases of sickness each month - 300,000 men on top of wounded, missing and killed who are not able to participate in combat.

AG-North would be helping by destroying the Northwest Front and 22nd army of the Western Front on the flank of AG-Center while the majority of the infantry corps hold the Luga Line. AG-South would breach the Dniepr line and exploit that breach per OTL, which was achieved without the help of Guderian since his forces only fought Central and Bryansk Fronts to that point. It was only during the exploitation phase of AG-South's breach of the Dniepr line that Guderian started hitting Southwest Front from the north, but AG-South didn't necessarily need their help, Guderian just sped up the collapse of SW Front. So the flanks wouldn't be stalled or endangered given that Guderian and von Weichs defeated Central and Bryansk Front historically and would be fighting them on the flank here too while helping close/liquidate the Vyazma pocket in August. At that point Central Front was basically defeated anyway and being overrun by von Weichs while Bryansk Front was still forming and what units it did throw against Guderian's flank in his march to Ukraine in August-September were defeated with little effort.

Any reserve armies being created, most of which were immediately occupied against AG-North and South anyway, would be of limited ability to attack and given their history during defense they aren't particularly combat capable, just speed bumps. So the flank threat is heavily exaggerated given actual Soviet historical combat capabilities. Read Glantz's Stumbling Colossus about how bad things were in June and then realize by August Soviet abilities had degraded to levels much worse than even in June and they were desperately throwing the kitchen sink at German forces to little/no avail.
AG North couldn't even destroy the Northwest Front in the OTL when it had the help of Panzer Group 3.

AG South was stretched out trying to find a point on the Dnepr to break through. Its breakthrough at Dneptrotovsk was struggling under Soviet counter-attacks in much the same way as the AGC was at Yelnia (Stahell discusses this in his book on Kiev). In the absence of Guderian's Panzer Group 2, the AG South's bridgehead at Kremenchug was planned to be used for the aid of the panzer corps struggling at Dnepropetrovsk. Zeitzler estimated the combat strength of Panzer Group 1 in early September to be down to one third. Maybe AGS would have captured Dnepropetrovsk, but that would just be extending AG South's salient even further to the east, at a time when the Red Army's strength was rapidly increasing and the OstHeer's was diminishing.

The Soviet reserve armies went where the Germans were attacking. In the OTL, this was Leningrad and the Ukraine. In Solfi's ATL, it would be against AG Center, which the Soviet reserve armies successfully bludgeoned to a halt at Smolensk in the OTL and would do the same in Solfi's ATL. AGC might keep pushing east, but its flanks would get longer and longer while its combat strength got weaker and weaker, while the Red Army's strength got stronger and stronger (thanks to the Southwestern Front not being destroyed in this ATL and no encirclement at Briansk).
I hate to break it to you, but August 1941 is not November 1942, not least of which due to the lack of experience, Lend-Lease (didn't start until October), and a well grooved mobilization system. Nor is the German army anywhere near as worn down in August-September 1941 as they were by November 1942 after the fighting in Stalingrad and the preceding 16 months worth of losses. You're vastly overestimating Soviet capabilities and overstating German losses.
Perhaps you should look at what happened to the OstHeer when it overextended in December 1941. Now picture an AGC bogged down in house to house fighting in and around Moscow, the Soviets securely holding Leningrad, and the Southwestern Front intact. All while AGC is holding a long, narrow corridor from Smolensk to Moscow. In the OTL, the Germans could not hold their overextended positions. Why would they be able to do so in Stolfi's ATL?

Even if Germany somehow does hold the Moscow salient, where does that leave the OstHeer in 1942? By May 1942 the Red Army had 5.4 milliion men at the front, and they would be even stronger in this ATL without the encirclements at Kiev and Briansk and the Sea of Azov. Germany only had 2.5 million men at the front in May 1942. How do 2.5 million Germans hold a front with long, narrow salients protruding toward Moscow and Dnepropetrovsk against 5.4 million Red Army soldiers (whose numbers are growing every month)? November 1942 is still coming. The Red Army is still getting stronger. What has Stolfi's ATL accomplished, even if the Germans succeed in capturing and holding Moscow?

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by History Learner » 02 Apr 2021 02:00

KDF33 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 05:45
I don't question the ability of HGM to advance on the Moscow axis at some point in August. The assumption that this would produce results on par with Taifun, and that it would lead to a better outcome than what happened historically, is where I disagree.
Just to be clear, then, you do say there is a logistical basis for such?
Yes, and what was the state of those Panzer divisions compared to early October?

To give you an idea of what this looks like, here's Panzergruppe 2's operational readiness in early September:

3. Pz: 54 / 161 = 34% on September 4
4. Pz: 83 / 162 = 51% on September 9
17. Pz: 52 / 128 = 41% on September 10
18. Pz: 93 / 207 = 45% on September 9

Total: 282 / 658 = 43%

What do you think the readiness rate for PzG. 3 and 2 was, say, on August 5, after an almost uninterrupted fighting advance of 45 days?
Again, as I said in my last reply, I am assuming the OP's PoD is August 19th, with Stalin deciding to evacuate Kiev. Therefore, everything up until then is OTL, with my argument being that from August 20th on the Germans elect to do Moscow first since the opportunity against Southwestern Front is declining and AGC is pressing very, very hard for Moscow. As for what the Panzer readiness is, I don't think you actually read my reply because that has been answered by Stolfi:
The figure of 65 percent of the original German tank strength gives a realistic picture of the numbers of tanks the
Germans would have used in an offensive against Moscow in the first half of August 1941. The percentage is
pessimistic with respect to the remaining striking power of the panzer groups. When the Germans attacked the
Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 with 3,102 battle tanks, a significant percentage would have been under repair for
the attrition associated with the assembly for Barbarossa. This was particularly true among the panzer divisions
concentrated at the last moment in Wave 4b for the offensive.23 Tanks under repair on 22 June can be estimated at
10 percent, but the important point is that the striking power of the German panzer force was not 3,102 battle tanks
but approximately 90 percent of that figure. All German estimates of tank strength after 22 June 1941 use
percentages of an original strength of 3,102. This strength was never available because the Germans attacked on 22
June with about 2,792 combat-ready tanks (and 310 in repair). Thus, the Germans on 13 August would have been
attacking with an estimated 65 percent of the tanks available on 22 June, but approximately 72 percent of their
striking power on the first day of the war.
Actual percentages would be slightly different, but the percentages used
by the Germans to measure remaining striking power would have to be adjusted upward.
72% of June 22nd total comes out to 2,223 Tanks/AFVs, as of August 13th, exactly six days before the PoD.
As explained, they are the summation of troop strength reports dated 15-20 days prior.
Summation, so estimates?
What link?
Per70's comments.
Those figures aren't calculated by deducting registered losses from previous strength reports. They are literally based on the most recent monthly strength reports.
Which is the point, given how badly things fell apart in August-September; Central Front literally ceased to exist, for example.
Glantz uses the GKO decrees for Soviet strength figures. In When Titans Clashed, he produces a table comparing Axis-to-Soviet force evolution. It is reproduced here.

What do we find? Glantz gives a total of 5,647,000 men in the active Fronts on 5.7.1942 - which corresponds to GKO decree 1986 on food rations, dated... 5 July 1942. How about the figure of 6,101,000 men for 2.2.1943? Yup, that's GKO decree 2817 on food rations, also dated 2 February 1943! How about 6,903,000 for 27.7.1943? Again, it corresponds to GKO decree 3822 on food rations, dated 27 July 1943.
For 1942 and 1943, sure, but that obfuscates the charge made that, as other historians have pointed out, the Soviet reporting system collapsed in 1941. Particularly in August-September, with Smolensk, the charge on Leningrad and the start of the Kiev disaster.
There's not an ounce of actual data in this odd tangent by Stolfi.
Except there very much is, I don't see how one can read Stolfi outlining a 65-72% readiness among AGC's Panzer forces and say there is no data available for mid-August?
Past the border battles and until the end of the campaign, the Germans always had a significant advantage in armored forces.
So why are you arguing then?
How is PzG. 4 providing flank security for HGM? It's on the Luga line in early August. Does it get pulled out of the line and sent to HGM? Or does it attack Northwestern Front, like stg 44 suggested?
I've already indicated the former.
At Vyazma, the Germans launched a double-envelopment using 8 Panzer, 4 motorized Infanterie and 33 Infanterie divisions, + 1 Panzer and 2 Infanterie divisions in reserve.

Of these units, 2 Panzer divisions were reinforcements arrived during September (380 tanks between them) and 3 more were transfers from the two other army groups with close to a month to restore their readiness levels (~454 tanks). Three more were already with HGM but had recuperated for at least two weeks during September (~542 tanks).
So, they actually have vastly more tanks here than in OTL, but almost 1,000? Seems decisive to me.
What you propose is jumping off, almost immediately, from your positions in front of Smolensk, without a pause to build-up supplies or restore operational numbers. Besides, in August the entire HGM amounts to 55 divisions, including your units that will hold against Central Front.

Realistically, I can see you being able to launch a pincer against Vyazma with similar mobile, but weaker infantry strength, at the cost of stripping all Panzer assets and foregoing attacks against the Central Front. Given time needed to rehabilitate mobile formations as well as concentrate assets, I don't see you attacking until August 20th.

To do this, you will also need to completely stop minor offensive action against the Soviets in HGM's area for about 2 weeks.
Except, again, that's not what has been proposed; the PoD is the 19th of August. Once it becomes clear Southwestern Front is pulling back, the Germans elect to advance on Moscow from roughly August 20th onward. What happens then is 2nd and 3rd Panzer Armies encircle Reserve and Western Front, same as OTL more or less just without Briansk Front and 4th Panzer Army in the mix. Briansk/Central Front can be held by 2nd Army's infantry, same as OTL, where they tried and failed to attack AGC's flanks. Given the decisive German armored advantage, as well as the fact 2nd and 3rd Panzer were already in jump off points for this maneuver with no real opposition for an Eastern thrust in front of them, I see no reason this won't go anything less than OTL.

Not attacking Central/Briansk Front is fine, they are harmless by August 20th, while the argument the Germans need a rest has no merit; there Panzer forces were in constant combat for almost a month onward from the PoD anyway, so we know they are good for it.
And even if you do push on to Moscow, come October you'll be holding a salient running roughly from Staraya Russa through Kalinin to Moscow, and then through Kaluga back to Roslavl. The Leningrad region will remain in Soviet hands, as well as the Bryansk-Tula-Kursk region, the vast majority of the left-bank Ukraine, and the Crimea.

Your ability to hold the Moscow region during the winter will be much in question.
Except you've deprived the Northern/Leningrad region of men and material to fight Moscow while the loss of Moscow has seriously degraded their logistics while Southwestern Front has the entirety of Army Group South to their immediate front; to attempt to attack AGC means exposing their flank to AGS, with all that entails. That just leaves the Gorky axis for a Moscow counter-attack, but in which case you have a Soviet attack operating in a dispersed way for almost 500 km to Moscow, with the Germans having had since September to rest and dig in.

Basically, for those who have read of 1942, this is Operation Mars writ large, but in 1941 too.
The OP can specify what he wants. The fact of the matter is that in your scenario, PzG. 4 is now moving east, therefore the drive on Leningrad stalls on the Luga line. Likewise, HGS simply doesn't have the strength to break Southwestern and Southern Fronts by itself. Whatever Soviet units would be re-routed to Moscow wouldn't change that fact.
Does it? Because you've deprived them of the reinforcements necessary to replace their losses and, at least in the case of Leningrad, have seriously crippled their logistics. You're also suggesting they attempt offensive actions, therefore exposing their weak flanks.
I don't dispute the reduced capacity. I question the assumption that this would lead to a collapse of the Soviet position.
Because if you don't have ammunition, fuel or food you can't exactly fight the enemy effectively-or at all, for that matter.
As for transit times, again that's not obvious.
It is, however, by looking at said map and see that instead of a direct transit from Moscow you are now having to take a northern route that adds hundreds of kilometers to the trip.
In your scenario, the Luga line would also be static.
Would it? You've suggested all reinforcements from August on are diverted and already conceded their logistics are crippled. The Germans can't advance against fewer Soviet forces, with much reduced supplies to fight them? The loss of 4th Panzer Army OTL didn't cripple the German ability to advance.
In your scenario, the Germans are nowhere near Leningrad. They're on the Luga line.
Which is close to Leningrad in of itself, but see my criticisms above; I don't find your argument compelling.
How do you know the proportions of supplies that passed through Moscow vs the northern lines?
I don't have exact numbers, but we know the lines have a much reduced capacity, longer transit times and Glantz himself said retention of the Moscow route was vital to keeping Leningrad from falling.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by History Learner » 02 Apr 2021 03:26

historygeek2021 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 21:41
According to DRZW, there were only 90,000 men in field replacement battalions at the start of the campaign. Despite using them all up, there were still 132,000 vacancies in the OstHeer at the start of August.

Even if we include the 20,000 recovered wounded each month, that is still a replacement rate of only 37.9% by the end of July, and 50.34% by the end of August (and this does not taken into account the massive numbers of sick OstHeer personnel who were not evacuated to rear areas).

We are left with the inescapable conclusion of DRZW that by the end of August the combat strength of the OstHeer's infantry divisions had fallen to 60%, and the combat strength of the panzer and motorized divisions had fallen to 50%.

Thus, Stolfi's proposal for Army Group Center to dash ahead into the most powerful concentration of Soviet forces on the Eastern Front, leaving Army Group North and Army Group South to stall out their advances, thereby creating a massive salient stretching from Gomel to Moscow and then back to Velikiye Luki, while the Soviet Union is pouring all its newly created reserve armies around the flanks of an overstretched and badly understrength Army Group Center ... seems like a recipe for the disaster at Stalingrad to take place a year earlier at Moscow.
How exactly are AGN and AGS with stalled advanced when AGS literally is moving ahead with no opposition? How exactly is Southwestern Front supposed to attack when AGS is on their flank the instant they do? How exactly are the Soviets creating new armies without Moscow and, likely by December, Leningrad?

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by historygeek2021 » 02 Apr 2021 03:35

History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:26
How exactly are the Soviets creating new armies without Moscow and, likely by December, Leningrad?
Since the Soviet Union was much, much bigger than Leningrad and Moscow, I think it's incumbent on you to show why the capture of those two cities would destroy the Soviet Union's ability to create new armies.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by History Learner » 02 Apr 2021 04:56

historygeek2021 wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:35
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:26
How exactly are the Soviets creating new armies without Moscow and, likely by December, Leningrad?
Since the Soviet Union was much, much bigger than Leningrad and Moscow, I think it's incumbent on you to show why the capture of those two cities would destroy the Soviet Union's ability to create new armies.
Bigger in size, sure, but relying on geography alone to make your argument-rather than the infrastructure, industry and population centers that fuel modern warfare-is the flaw in the argument. In 1940 values, Leningrad, for example, was 10% of national industry; overall output of the machinery and metal goods sector had fallen by 40% by the end of 1941 due to the German invasion, however, making Leningrad represent roughly 20% of the now shrunken base. You find a similar story with Moscow, particularly in terms of specialized equipment and specific military categories. The loss of Leningrad and Moscow basically eliminates the Soviet aircraft industry, for example.

Beyond that, however, the manpower base of the reduced USSR is a complicating factor as well. Could the Soviets probably still create new armies? Likely, but not to the extent they did historically throughout the remainder in 1941 and definitely not in 1942.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by Futurist » 02 Apr 2021 05:42

History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 04:56
historygeek2021 wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:35
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:26
How exactly are the Soviets creating new armies without Moscow and, likely by December, Leningrad?
Since the Soviet Union was much, much bigger than Leningrad and Moscow, I think it's incumbent on you to show why the capture of those two cities would destroy the Soviet Union's ability to create new armies.
Bigger in size, sure, but relying on geography alone to make your argument-rather than the infrastructure, industry and population centers that fuel modern warfare-is the flaw in the argument. In 1940 values, Leningrad, for example, was 10% of national industry; overall output of the machinery and metal goods sector had fallen by 40% by the end of 1941 due to the German invasion, however, making Leningrad represent roughly 20% of the now shrunken base. You find a similar story with Moscow, particularly in terms of specialized equipment and specific military categories. The loss of Leningrad and Moscow basically eliminates the Soviet aircraft industry, for example.

Beyond that, however, the manpower base of the reduced USSR is a complicating factor as well. Could the Soviets probably still create new armies? Likely, but not to the extent they did historically throughout the remainder in 1941 and definitely not in 1942.
FWIW, factories can be evacuated and rebuilt further east in large quantities, no? But the huge hit that the Soviet Union will take as a result of the loss of its two railway centers and especially Moscow cannot be underestimated. A LOT OF Soviet railroads went through Moscow, after all.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by KDF33 » 02 Apr 2021 05:47

History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Just to be clear, then, you do say there is a logistical basis for such?
Yes, I do believe that an advance on the Moscow axis would have been possible at some point in the second half of August. How comparable in vigor to Taifun this would have been is IMO the important question.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Again, as I said in my last reply, I am assuming the OP's PoD is August 19th, with Stalin deciding to evacuate Kiev. Therefore, everything up until then is OTL, with my argument being that from August 20th on the Germans elect to do Moscow first since the opportunity against Southwestern Front is declining and AGC is pressing very, very hard for Moscow.
Ok. You need time to regroup your widely dispersed units, then. So an offensive in the first half of September with, admittedly, a sound logistical basis perhaps comparable to the historical Taifun.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
As for what the Panzer readiness is, I don't think you actually read my reply because that has been answered by Stolfi:
I have. Stolfi is hardly a reputable source. The paragraph you have quoted contains no archival data on readiness. Stolfi's figure of 72% of the initial "striking power" of 2,792 operational tanks on August 13th is backed by nothing, and would require us to believe German tanks had a 74% readiness rate at the time.

How he derives his figures is anyone's guess, but it is clearly contradicted by strength reports, which, as I have shown previously, indicate far lower levels of operational readiness among long-engaged Panzer formations.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
72% of June 22nd total comes out to 2,223 Tanks/AFVs, as of August 13th, exactly six days before the PoD.
A figure pulled out of thin air. Also, according to Stolfi's reasoning, the figure would be 2,010, not 2,223, given that he calculates the ratio on an estimate of 90% operational readiness for the initial inventory.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Summation, so estimates?
No, summation as in "the process of adding things together"', i.e., combining strength reports for the different Fronts.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Per70's comments.
That link doesn't refute in anyway the figures from the GKO. It doesn't even mention them.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Which is the point, given how badly things fell apart in August-September; Central Front literally ceased to exist, for example.
You're conflating two things. 1941 saw problems with the casualty reporting system, but AFAIK not with the strength reporting system. Take the difference in the reported strength of Southwestern Front between early September and early October: it drops from 850,000 to 408,000 men, a collapse consistent with the impact of the Kiev pocket.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
For 1942 and 1943, sure, but that obfuscates the charge made that, as other historians have pointed out, the Soviet reporting system collapsed in 1941. Particularly in August-September, with Smolensk, the charge on Leningrad and the start of the Kiev disaster.
Same as above. There's no charge that the overall reporting system collapsed, just the reporting of casualties.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Except there very much is, I don't see how one can read Stolfi outlining a 65-72% readiness among AGC's Panzer forces and say there is no data available for mid-August?
Because it's unsourced data, AFAICT pulled out of thin air.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
So why are you arguing then?
The Germans having superiority in mobile formations does not automatically mean Vyazma-level victories. The Germans were also superior during the Smolensk operation, and they were far less successful at bagging Soviet units.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
I've already indicated the former.
Ok. On what date is it pulled out and sent south?
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
So, they actually have vastly more tanks here than in OTL, but almost 1,000? Seems decisive to me.
"Almost 1,000" more tanks how?
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Except, again, that's not what has been proposed; the PoD is the 19th of August. Once it becomes clear Southwestern Front is pulling back, the Germans elect to advance on Moscow from roughly August 20th onward. What happens then is 2nd and 3rd Panzer Armies encircle Reserve and Western Front, same as OTL more or less just without Briansk Front and 4th Panzer Army in the mix. Briansk/Central Front can be held by 2nd Army's infantry, same as OTL, where they tried and failed to attack AGC's flanks.
How long does it take you to set this up with a POD of August 19?
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Given the decisive German armored advantage, as well as the fact 2nd and 3rd Panzer were already in jump off points for this maneuver with no real opposition for an Eastern thrust in front of them, I see no reason this won't go anything less than OTL.
2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups were widely dispersed and not in any way in position to jump off. Here is the disposition of HGM's mobile formations on August 19:
  • XXXIX. Armeekorps (mot.): En route to Heeresgruppe Nord, with 12. Panzer, as well as 18. and 20. Infanterie (mot.)
  • LVII. Armeekorps (mot.): 3 days away (22 August) from launching an attack on Velikiye Luki, with 19. and 20. Panzer
  • VIII. Armeekorps: Defending north-east of Smolensk, with 7. Panzer, as well as 14. Infanterie (mot.)
  • XXXXVI. Armeekorps (mot.): Defending south-east of Smolensk, with 10. Panzer, as well as Das Reich
  • XXXXVII. Armeekorps (mot.): Pushing south against 13th Army and holding the right flank of Panzergruppe 2, with 17. and 18. Panzer, as well as 29. Infanterie (mot.)
  • XXIV. Armeekorps (mot.): Pushing south against 21st Army and about to take Starodub, with 3. and 4. Panzer, as well as 10. Infanterie (mot.)
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Not attacking Central/Briansk Front is fine, they are harmless by August 20th, while the argument the Germans need a rest has no merit; there Panzer forces were in constant combat for almost a month onward from the PoD anyway, so we know they are good for it.
And they were at a low level of operational readiness. Kiev was won with comparatively weak forces, because they turned the Soviets' even weaker flank. Vyazma, on the contrary, was won with mobile formations that were either completely fresh, or had 2-4 weeks of rehabilitation.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Except you've deprived the Northern/Leningrad region of men and material to fight Moscow while the loss of Moscow has seriously degraded their logistics while Southwestern Front has the entirety of Army Group South to their immediate front; to attempt to attack AGC means exposing their flank to AGS, with all that entails. That just leaves the Gorky axis for a Moscow counter-attack, but in which case you have a Soviet attack operating in a dispersed way for almost 500 km to Moscow, with the Germans having had since September to rest and dig in.
A couple things:

1. You still have produced no data on the impact of the loss of Moscow on Heeresgruppe Nord. Your assertions regarding supply are speculation.
2. With Southwestern Front surviving, come winter Heeresgruppe Süd will be even more hollowed out than historically. It won't be able to do much but hold its position.
3. Why would the Soviets be dispersed on the Gorky axis?
4. If the Germans dig in in September and forego inflicting mass casualties on the Soviets during October, the latter will be even stronger come their counterattack.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Does it? Because you've deprived them of the reinforcements necessary to replace their losses and, at least in the case of Leningrad, have seriously crippled their logistics. You're also suggesting they attempt offensive actions, therefore exposing their weak flanks.
What weak flanks? You realize that by the end of the campaign, the Germans have no meaningful ability to do anything but defend a static front?
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Because if you don't have ammunition, fuel or food you can't exactly fight the enemy effectively-or at all, for that matter.
Again, you haven't provided any data to back this up.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
It is, however, by looking at said map and see that instead of a direct transit from Moscow you are now having to take a northern route that adds hundreds of kilometers to the trip.
Not necessarily. For some factories, it is shorter to transit through Kirov than through Moscow.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Would it? You've suggested all reinforcements from August on are diverted and already conceded their logistics are crippled.
I said not such things.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
The Germans can't advance against fewer Soviet forces, with much reduced supplies to fight them?
Why would there be fewer Soviet forces? You said yourself that Panzergruppe 4 would be sent south after August 19. After that, the front becomes static.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
The loss of 4th Panzer Army OTL didn't cripple the German ability to advance.
It absolutely did. The only advance by HGN past the first week of September was the Tikhvin offensive that was quickly pushed back to its start line.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
Which is close to Leningrad in of itself, but see my criticisms above; I don't find your argument compelling.
I addressed them above.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 02:00
I don't have exact numbers, but we know the lines have a much reduced capacity, longer transit times and Glantz himself said retention of the Moscow route was vital to keeping Leningrad from falling.
To buttress your claim, you would need to:

1. Detail the amount of supplies needed by the northern Fronts.
2. Detail the capacity of the remaining railways.

As for Glantz, you're misconstruing his claim. The importance of Tikhvin lay in constituting the last remaining link with the USSR in general, not just with Moscow. He was also speaking of the cut off Leningrad Front. In this scenario of ours, no Soviet forces are cut off in the north.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by historygeek2021 » 02 Apr 2021 05:49

History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 04:56
historygeek2021 wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:35
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 03:26
How exactly are the Soviets creating new armies without Moscow and, likely by December, Leningrad?
Since the Soviet Union was much, much bigger than Leningrad and Moscow, I think it's incumbent on you to show why the capture of those two cities would destroy the Soviet Union's ability to create new armies.
Bigger in size, sure, but relying on geography alone to make your argument-rather than the infrastructure, industry and population centers that fuel modern warfare-is the flaw in the argument. In 1940 values, Leningrad, for example, was 10% of national industry; overall output of the machinery and metal goods sector had fallen by 40% by the end of 1941 due to the German invasion, however, making Leningrad represent roughly 20% of the now shrunken base. You find a similar story with Moscow, particularly in terms of specialized equipment and specific military categories. The loss of Leningrad and Moscow basically eliminates the Soviet aircraft industry, for example.

Beyond that, however, the manpower base of the reduced USSR is a complicating factor as well. Could the Soviets probably still create new armies? Likely, but not to the extent they did historically throughout the remainder in 1941 and definitely not in 1942.
You're going to need to give hard data and specific sources to construct your argument as to the effect of the loss of Leningrad and Moscow on the Soviet war effort, since that is they key to Stolfi's ATL winning the war on the eastern front.

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by KDF33 » 02 Apr 2021 06:00

History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 04:56
overall output of the machinery and metal goods sector had fallen by 40% by the end of 1941 due to the German invasion, however, making Leningrad represent roughly 20% of the now shrunken base.
Cut-off, starving Leningrad was not a major center of industrial production during the war.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 04:56
The loss of Leningrad and Moscow basically eliminates the Soviet aircraft industry, for example.
This must come as shocking news to the people of Kuibyshev, Kazan, Gorky and Novosibirsk.
History Learner wrote:
02 Apr 2021 04:56
Beyond that, however, the manpower base of the reduced USSR is a complicating factor as well. Could the Soviets probably still create new armies? Likely, but not to the extent they did historically throughout the remainder in 1941 and definitely not in 1942.
How many tens of millions of people do you think there were in the historically-occupied regions of west-central Russia and the left-bank Ukraine?

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Re: The Soviets retreat from Kiev in early September 1941

Post by stg 44 » 02 Apr 2021 22:56

historygeek2021 wrote:
01 Apr 2021 21:01
The discussion of the OstHeer's manpower problems begins on page 1009 of Volume V/IB. The cite for combat strength is page 1011.

On page 1014, DRZW states that only 49% of sick troops returned to duty within one month, and another 23% after 2 months.

If you compare the charts on page 1112 (ratio of sick to wounded) and page 1020 (departures and arrivals), you will see that the number of sick in July was roughly 1.75 times the number of wounded, which gives roughly another 300,000 men each month who were out of action due to sickness. Even if most of them returned to readiness in a month or two, there are still roughly 300,000 cases of sickness each month - 300,000 men on top of wounded, missing and killed who are not able to participate in combat.
You read the chart on page 1012 wrong, it says an average of 21 days to recover from sickness in 1941. The claim on p.1014 refers to the sick from the entire period of September 1941-August 1942, but the chart says the sick in 1942 recovered on average after 40 days. So the 49% within 1 month recovered mostly refers to the sick of 1942 not 1941. I'm guessing that the majority of those in 1941 who were sick for an extended period of time were the frostbite cases of the winter of 1941-42, so mostly those well after the period we are discussing.

The chart on page 1020 specifically says only 56,800 departures due to the illness, so the vast majority stayed and if the average recovery time for 1941 was 21 days, then at least 50% recovered within 21 days and probably at least 2/3rds within 30. Only the more extreme illness cases were evacuated. Exhaustion was probably a significant case for some people to drop out of action and there is no indication that it was the combat arms that were disproportionately hit for that. They might have even been less likely to be hit due to casualties chewing up those that might have gotten sick and fresh replacements who were less likely to get sick filling their slots.

Your mistake seems to have been taken every departure for July 1941 and multiplying by 1.75 rather than just the casualties caused by weapons (which did not include missing either, so remove them from your calculations). So you've doubled counted all the evacuated sick and added in other categories that should have not have been included.

So yeah, basically what I thought, you were misreading your own source.
historygeek2021 wrote:
01 Apr 2021 21:01
AG North couldn't even destroy the Northwest Front in the OTL when it had the help of Panzer Group 3.
Given that by October Northwest Front was effectively neutered you're taking 'destroyed' a bit too literally. Effectively it was destroyed as it really couldn't do anything and was pushed back to the Valdai Hills. Also 3rd Panzer Group did not fight Northwest Front at all, it fought the part of Western Front on the flank of NW Front, the 22nd army at Velyiki Luki (sp?) and destroyed it.
historygeek2021 wrote:
01 Apr 2021 21:01
AG South was stretched out trying to find a point on the Dnepr to break through. Its breakthrough at Dneptrotovsk was struggling under Soviet counter-attacks in much the same way as the AGC was at Yelnia (Stahell discusses this in his book on Kiev). In the absence of Guderian's Panzer Group 2, the AG South's bridgehead at Kremenchug was planned to be used for the aid of the panzer corps struggling at Dnepropetrovsk. Zeitzler estimated the combat strength of Panzer Group 1 in early September to be down to one third. Maybe AGS would have captured Dnepropetrovsk, but that would just be extending AG South's salient even further to the east, at a time when the Red Army's strength was rapidly increasing and the OstHeer's was diminishing.

The Soviet reserve armies went where the Germans were attacking. In the OTL, this was Leningrad and the Ukraine. In Solfi's ATL, it would be against AG Center, which the Soviet reserve armies successfully bludgeoned to a halt at Smolensk in the OTL and would do the same in Solfi's ATL. AGC might keep pushing east, but its flanks would get longer and longer while its combat strength got weaker and weaker, while the Red Army's strength got stronger and stronger (thanks to the Southwestern Front not being destroyed in this ATL and no encirclement at Briansk).
Stahel is a shit source, he has a bad habit of cherrypicking data to 'prove' his thesis rather than shaping his thesis based on the data and results.
I completely disagree with your categorization of what was going on on the Dnieper, including the supposed increase in Soviet strength when in fact they were being ground down in Ukraine before they imploded. Also per this thread the Soviets are evacuated anyway, so that just makes the job of AG-South and Center easier, as their opponents are running east away from them anyway.

The Soviet reserve armies were mobilized in advance where they were needed, which was Ukraine and Leningrad; they would have time to be mobilized in front of Moscow if Stalin opted to retreat since the mobilization process would have been started well before August 19th when you say the decision to evacuate would have been made. Later on they could have been mobilized around Moscow, but that's a longer process and one that won't be perceived as necessary until after the evacuation is underway. Too late to redirect mobilization for August and likely the majority of September given how much transport will be needed to evacuate Ukraine. If anything that might just break down the mobilization process as trains are diverted to saving their armies rather than creating new ones.
historygeek2021 wrote:
01 Apr 2021 21:01
Perhaps you should look at what happened to the OstHeer when it overextended in December 1941. Now picture an AGC bogged down in house to house fighting in and around Moscow, the Soviets securely holding Leningrad, and the Southwestern Front intact. All while AGC is holding a long, narrow corridor from Smolensk to Moscow. In the OTL, the Germans could not hold their overextended positions. Why would they be able to do so in Stolfi's ATL?

Even if Germany somehow does hold the Moscow salient, where does that leave the OstHeer in 1942? By May 1942 the Red Army had 5.4 milliion men at the front, and they would be even stronger in this ATL without the encirclements at Kiev and Briansk and the Sea of Azov. Germany only had 2.5 million men at the front in May 1942. How do 2.5 million Germans hold a front with long, narrow salients protruding toward Moscow and Dnepropetrovsk against 5.4 million Red Army soldiers (whose numbers are growing every month)? November 1942 is still coming. The Red Army is still getting stronger. What has Stolfi's ATL accomplished, even if the Germans succeed in capturing and holding Moscow?
December 1941 is not August 1941. Trying to compare the situations is utterly absurd. What house to house fighting in Moscow? After Vyazma there is no reserves to fight for Moscow in the city and there is no mud to slow down the Germans either. New armies weren't mobilized in the city, just passed through it.

You're WAY overestimating Soviet abilities in August-September and underestimating AG-Center's abilities in the same period. We can look at what happened to Soviet forces that tried to stop the Leningrad and the Kiev encirclements. Hint: they were destroyed.

In a situation where Moscow is seized in September (I'm assuming given that the march on Moscow would start later in August) the Soviets lack the ability to move reserves to counter attack Moscow, they would lack their central rail and telephone line hub (pretty vital to organizing reserves; hard to do it on the fly from Kubyshiev, the planned new capital if the government fled in time), and they'd lack the industry to make the necessary weapons that equipped forces in December historically. Meanwhile the Germans have all the airfields of Moscow, the captured supplies and rail lines/rolling stock, have a flood of refugees fleeing east and into Soviet infrastructure that couldn't handle them, have 10% of Soviet industry that was concentrated around Moscow and provided much of the specialized weapons and equipment that wasn't made elsewhere, and more importantly have eliminated the bulk of Soviet forces that might threaten them. The only sizable force left would be the force fleeing from Ukraine, which still has to deal with AG-South chasing them down. The Leningrad forces are still on the Luga and now split between also screening the Moscow axis, but now without the rail lines to supply them. Lend-Lease is not available yet either and if Moscow falls probably will never be authorized either.

The Soviets would be fucked without their capital and industry and the Germans are highly unlikely to suffer the losses they took from October on without Moscow organizing resistance and mobilization and production. The Soviets would be completely unraveling by May 1942 especially without LL.

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