KDF33 wrote: ↑
02 Apr 2021 05:47
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.
Okay, so long as we are agreed on the logistical viability.
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.
2nd and 3rd Panzer Armies were still in position at this point, with Guderian heavily lobbying in favor of a Moscow strike.
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.
Okay, for one, he does include citations I just didn't attach them like I did for the logistics portion since there was no objection then to Stolfi as a source. If you would like the citations for Chapter 10, from which the tank strength is drawn, here you go:
1. See in Halder, Diaries, vol. 6. p. 210, the comment by Col. Eberhard Kinzel at the Army General Staff 1100
review of the Russian situation on 8 July 1941.
2. See Halder. Diaries, vol. 6, p. 125. the entry for 20 May 1941, in which Generaloberst Friedrich Fromm, chief of
army equipment and commander of the replacement army. presents these figures.
3. Average numbers among nine divisions (four panzer, three infantry, and two motorized infantry) assigned to
Panzer Group Guderian on 22 June 1941. See in Pz. A.O.K. 2. H.Qu. den 27 Dezember 1941. Starken Pz. A.O.K. 2.
U.S. National Archives. Records of German Field Commands. Panzer Armies, Microcopy T-313. Roll 103. Fr.
4. Average numbers among eight divisions (five panzer and three motorized infantry) assigned to Panzer Group
Guderian on 23 August 1941. See Pz. A.O.K. 2, H.Qu. den 23.8.1941. Starken Panzergruppe, U.S. National
Archives. Records of German Field Commands, Panzer Armies. Copy T-313. Roll 103. Fr. 7346313.
5. Ibid.. Fr. 7346281. in which strength figures are given for the same divisions of Panzer Group 2 on 22 June
1941. Comparison shows the Germans operating at 80 percent of their original strength on the later date.
6. Feist and Nowarra. German Panzers.
7. Senger und Etterlin. Kampfpanzer, pp. 63. 68. 423.
8. See Brereton and Feist, Russian Tanks, pp. 12. 20, 32. 33. 48, as supplemented for road ranges by Senger und
Etterlin, Kampfpanzer. pp. 357, 362, 386, 391.
9. See in Hoherer Art.Kdo. 302. la Nr. 588/41 geh. Gef Stand, den 20.10.1941, U.S. National Archives, Records
German Field Commands, Armies, Microcopy T-312. Roll 145, Fr. 7684409. where the report comments that the
10.5cm howitzer required the 10.5cm antitank projectile and the number 6 load of propellant to knock out the T-34
at that time.
10. See the German analysis in Pz. A.O.K. 4. Ic. . . . 12.7.1941 . . . Abschrift eines Berichten des Pz. Rgts. 25 über
den schwersten Sowjet Panzerkampfwagen. U.S. National Archives. Records German Field Commands. Panzer
Armies. Microcopy T-313. Roll 131. Fr. 7378951. which reveals the challenges of fighting the big Soviet tanks
(KV-1.2) in the Baltic.
11. See in O.K.H. Gen Sta d H. Op. Abt. (I), Nr. 1503/41. g.Kdos. Chef. Panzerlage, U.S. National Archives,
Records Headquarters German Army High Command, Copy T-78. Roll 335. Fr. 6291784. The numbers do not
include German tanks manufactured as command vehicles, e.g., Pz.Kw. I, Pz.Kw. III. and TNHS 38
12. See Foss. Illustrated Encyclopedia, p. 173. figure for T-26 tanks.
13. See Senger und Etterlin, Kampfpanzer, pp. 386, 391. Figures are for T-34 and KV tanks manufactured by 22
14. See Christensen. Steinlager Allendorf, trans., Questions Asked Guderian and Answers Given by Guderian. U.S.
Army. European Command. Historical Division, MS B-271.
In answer to the question of how many tanks the Germans expected the Russians to have. Guderian notes, ''I
reckoned on 17-20,000."
15. See Zusammenstellung, U.S. National Archives, Records Headquarters German Armed Forces High Command.
Microcopy T-77. Roll 15, Fr. 726363, which presents figures of 13.176 "3.7 cm Pak. u. Pak 38 (5 cm)" for
"Bestand 1.5.40." See also Heereswaffenamt, Wa. Stab la 3, Ausschnitt Bestand am 1.7.40. U.S. National Archives,
Records Headquarters German Army High Command. Microcopy T-78. Roll 143, Fr. 6973765. The Germans had
produced the vast total of 13,029 of the 3.7cm Pak for the antitank defense of the field divisions by 1 July 1940,
according to the source.
16. See, for example. Fernschreiben. 3. A.K., Ic. an Panzergruppe 184.108.40.206. U.S. National Archives, Records
German Field Commands. Panzer Armies. Microcopy T-313. Roll 10. Fr. 7236603, which states: "Russian tanks:
seldom more than battalion strength at one time."
17. See Selz, Das Grüne Regiment, pp. 58. 59.
18. German infantry in Army Group South faced similar, huge Soviet tank forces. See. for example, A.O.K. 17.
K.T.B. Nr. 1, 15.5.41-12.12.41. U.S. National Archives, Records German Field Commands, Armies. Microcopy T312. Roll 668. Fr. 8301934. in which headquarters. 17th Army, notes: "Around noon [23 June 1941] the 262nd
Infantry Division was in danger from about 150 enemy tanks from the area around Kornie."
19. The most powerful antitank gun used by the Germans in Barbarossa, the 5.0cm Pak, was "effective only at
ranges under 200 m . . . the [KV heavy] tanks can also be put out of action by chance hits of 5.0 cm Pak at the
turret ring." See Pz. A.O.K. 4. lc . . . 12.7.1941 . . . Abschrift eines Berichten des Pz. Rgts. 25 uber den schwersten
Sowjet Panzerkampfwagen. U.S. National Archives, Records German Field Commands. Panzer Armies, Microcopy
T-313. Roll 131, Fr. 7378951.
20. Note the typical Soviet experience in Oberkommando der 4. Pz. Armee, Ic. Interrogation Report. T-34 Crew
Member Georgiewitsch Kowalenko. July 1941, U.S. National Archives. Records German Field Commands. Panzer
Armies. Microcopy T-313, Roll 131, Fr. 7378923. where the Soviet tank man in the Soviet 107th Panzer Division
notes heavy fighting around Orsha on 9 July 1941 followed by the attempt of a pack of sixty Soviet tanks "to fight
its way eastward through Smolensk" on 17 and 18 July 41 out of the cauldron, 50 to 60 km to the west. Kowalenko
notes that only two of the Soviet tanks escaped over the Dnieper toward Smolensk.
21. Note that approximately one month later, under Guderian. the 18th Panzer Division. 47th Panzer Corps would
be "standing ready for insertion in further combat at about 60% of its original strength." See 18. Panzer-Division.
XXXXVII. Pz. Korps. Meldung vom 15.9.1941 nachdem Stand vom 10.9.1941. U.S. National Archives. Records
German Field Commands. Panzer Armies. Microcopy T-313. Roll 103. Frs. 7347178, 7347180.
22. See in Halder. Diaries, vol. 7, p. 17.
23. See Ferschreiben. 9. Pz. Div. an Pz. Gr. 1. U.S. National Archives, Records German Field Commands. Panzer
Armies. Microcopy T-313, Roll 4. Fr. 7227458. which notes on the day of the start of the campaign that the 9th
Panzer Division had "approximately 80 percent of the wheeled motor vehicles of the division ready for insertion in
24. See Author No. 313, Antitank Defense in the East (April. 1947), p. 3. U.S. Army. European Command.
Historical Division. MS D-253.
Beyond that though, using figures from September-while 3rd and 2nd Panzer were getting use by AGN and AGS-for a mid/late August estimate is a pretty bad standard. Looking at your data, you're pulling it from Panzertruppen
by Jentz, which makes it all the more odd because August returns are presented for several of the divisions, but also I am not sure why you are citing them the way you are?
Case in point is 3rd Panzer, which started Barbarossa with 229 tanks and by September 4th total losses were only 70, meaning that even in September, they had a roughly 70% rate of tanks either in operation or repairable. If we take your suggestion of a few days halt, most-if not all-of those under repair would be put back in position. However, as stated, looking at September returns seems odd to me.
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.
Again, not true that it's pulled out of thin air, but even still that results in a markedly higher position than most estimates for Typhoon.
No, summation as in "the process of adding things together"', i.e., combining strength reports for the different Fronts.
So estimates, since they were in the process of adding things and thus did not have a finalized count. Even dropping this point, I don't find it very convincing since you've already conceded Central Front/Briansk Front will not be in a position to be of use previously.
That link doesn't refute in anyway the figures from the GKO. It doesn't even mention them.
Quite frankly you didn't read it then because that entire discussion is about the numbers drawn from the GKO and their validity.
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.
If you can't figure out what your actual casualties are then you don't know what your actual strength is; these are very obviously connected, no?
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.
Because of poor tactical decisions on their part, in particular Guderian moving to seize Yelna in his haste to advance upon Moscow. If you are going to argue the tactical rather than the force numbers, then this debate transitions back into what I said earlier about Central Front; you're counting them in your force totals to argue against such a drive on Moscow while ignoring their specific dispositions and how that would impact the course of the hypothetical battle.
Ok. On what date is it pulled out and sent south?
Presumably sometime in August, I'd imagine they would-as noted-counter the Starya Russai offensive and secure Velikiye Luki.
"Almost 1,000" more tanks how?
What is your position on the tank count for AGC in the historical Operation Typhoon? There are different ranges, so let's see first what number you pick.
How long does it take you to set this up with a POD of August 19?
Presumably the Germans will detect the Soviet withdraw in a few days, giving AGC the ammo it needs to elect to continue the drive on Moscow. If we elect to take your halt period-say five or six days like after Smolensk-to regroup and repair tanks, we could have the operation start before the end of August.
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.)
I'm not really seeing them as all that dispersed then or not in a position to jump off, particularly Guderian with his 2nd Panzer Army; Glantz in Barbarossa Derailed covers this well with Chapter 8 from Volume I. To quote from Page 393:
Because the forces of Zhukov’s Reserve Front were still attacking El’nia, the OKH
cancelled plans for any further advance eastward across the Desna River as counseled by
Guderian and left it to Bock to decide whether or not to abandon the El’nia bridgehead,
and when. The OKH did so because Vietinghoff’s SS “Das Reich” Division and
“Grossdeutschland” Regiment were still in the line near El’nia and would remain there
until 18 August, thus depriving Vietinghoff’s motorized corps, which had been in near
constant combat since 22 June, of much needed time to rest and rehabilitate its forces.
Meanwhile, Stalin assigned Zhukov’s reinforced Reserve Front the multiple tasks
of backing up the Western Front, eliminating Army Group Center’s bridgehead at
El’nia, and continuing to fill in and defend the growing gap between the Western and
Central Fronts southward from El’nia to the region northwest of Briansk.
From the Stavka’s perspective, the obliteration of the defenses of Golubev’s 13th
Army along the Sozh River and the withdrawal of Gordov’s 21st Army toward Gomel’,
both of which were now threatened with encirclement in the Gomel’ region, permitted
a sizeable gap to form between the Western Front east of Smolensk and Southwestern
Front defending Kiev. For the moment, however, the Stavka expected Zhukov’s Reserve
Front and the remnants of Efremov’s Central Front to help fill this gap. Compounding
the Stavka’s problems, on 11 August it received news that General V. I. Kuznetsov’s
3rd Army, which it had reestablished by 1 August and deployed on the western bank
of the Dnepr River west of Gomel’ to protect the Central Front’s left flank, was
withdrawing without authorization to do so.19 Reacting angrily, Shaposhnikov sent a
scathing message to Timoshenko, the Main Western Direction commander:
Despite the absence of overwhelming enemy superiority, Kuznetsov is continuing
to withdraw without proper resistance, at the same time creating a serious situation
for Potapov [5th Army on 21st Army’s left flank]. The front’s military council
must compel Kuznetsov to fight as he should and not abandon his positions to
the enemy without a fight. This situation cannot continue any longer.20
When reinforcement of the Reserve Front and threats to the Central Front and
3rd Army proved inadequate to solve “the Guderian problem,” on 14 August the
Stavka acted even more decisively to block Guderian’s southward advance by forming
the new Briansk Front to plug the gap between the Reserve and Central Fronts and
assigning the “fighter,” General Eremenko, as its commander. By doing so, it also kept
its hopes alive for a new and more powerful offensive against Army Group Center.
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.
And yet they managed to help AGN break the Luga Line and encircle Southwestern Front, even taking the charges made at face value. Seems odd they suddenly are too weak to do this when they did major things on two different fronts, after traveling hundreds of kilometers no less. As it were, STAVKA was very concerned about their flanks being caved in, as Glantz notes.
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.
Nope, they are directly drawn from David Glantz, having been directly cited from his book on Leningrad. Glantz emphatically states the loss of railway connections with Moscow would be fatal to the defense of Leningrad; to that, you have only offered speculation in retort.
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.
Uh, what? How exactly is Southwestern Front able to inflict damage while it is retreating in the face of AGS? That makes no sense at all.
3. Why would the Soviets be dispersed on the Gorky axis?
Because that is how the Soviet railway network is structured? Once Moscow is lost most of the major Soviet cities that can be used to replace it are hundreds of kilometers back and have their own railway ties to Moscow, meaning there is no one central mobilization point to use. Even David Stahel, who is less than bullish (to say the least) on the German chances for taking Moscow, concedes that the loss of said city would be extremely damaging to the Soviet logistics given this fact.
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.
Except they've already inflicted massive casualties in August-September instead of October, as in OTL?
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?
Given the OTL situation, sure, but such has been decisive changed here. Somehow Soviet forces near Leningrad and in Ukraine-despite being deprived of reinforcements for at least the entire month of September-are somehow strong enough to attempt flank attacks despite AGN and AGS sitting to their immediate front and able to attack them should they attempt action against AGC. There is nothing baked in that said German forces can't take advantage of the situation, particularly when AGN and AGS have take substantially less losses from August onwards while the Soviet forces facing them are much, much weaker than historically.
Not necessarily. For some factories, it is shorter to transit through Kirov than through Moscow.
Than by all means, give us some data, particularly what military supplies this entails and what the difference is compared to what happened historically.
I said not such things.
Except you did when I asked you about the September divisions you cited, to which you replied the Soviets would send them to where the strategic situation called for it; i.e. the defense of Moscow. Soviet forces can't be in two places in once.
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.
Because of the above and that the front would be static is your claim, to which you have yet to provide a meaningful explanation. You have already, as noted, suggested the September reinforcements to Northwestern Front do not occur, you have likewise also conceded that the capacity limits of the railways are lower even if we don't fact in a time delay, which means fewer supplies. There is also quite literally nothing stopping the transfer of 4th Panzer Army back to AGN in September, after Moscow is taken. So we have a decisive armor and manpower advantage by AGN over their Soviet opponents, who have not received reinforcements in September and also have a reduced supply flow. Yet, somehow this remains a static front?
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.
An odd claim, not supported by the actual data given Tikhvin was a serious offensive that lasted some six weeks from late October to early December.
It also saw its namesake city fall and the Soviets desperately trying to reinforce their collapsing armies in the first phase, reinforcements not possible here.
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.
I'm not misconstructing them, given I directly cited it with picture evidence so there could be no claim of me misquoting him. He directly notes the loss of the railway links with Moscow-he directly specifies Moscow, not the USSR as a whole
-would be fatal. You don't have to quote the railway links if you have taken Moscow directly, but even then, given the above link, it seems exceedingly likely the Germans will take Tikhvin too.