Even if you are right, the Germans would have kept un the mainland the divisions which IOTL were sent to the Crimea in the first months of 1944.Richard Anderson wrote: ↑15 Jul 2021 17:51In the tumult of October, I doubt that more than a fraction of those units could escape a Soviet pursuit from the blocking positions on the isthmus and peninsula to any evacuation from Sevastopol or airfields. 17. AOK had just 42 operational Romanian 38 (t) by the end of October, plus a few StuG. There simply wasn't much there to do anything other than try to hold the blocking positions. By the end of December they only had 25 operational 38 (t).
But before the Third Battle of Kharkov Army Group South had even less operational tanks, 350 according to one source, and that didn't prevent It from achieving a victory (although I don't have the numbers of Soviet operational tanks, so If don't know the odds in each case).Two problems were the weather and the relative weakness of the German forces. Yes,the December freeze restored the maneuverability of Germans, but it did the same for the Soviets. By that point, all of HG-A and HG-S, minus the 25 tanks with 17. AOK, had 741 operational tanks. 8. AOK had just 92 and 1. "Pz" AOK had only 35. At least 6. AOK on the lower Dnieper had 267, but nearly half were far to the north with 1. PzAOK, 347 of them.
By the way, you first say 1. Panzer Army had only 35 operational tanks, and then you say it had 347. Perhaps in one of those you meant 4. Panzer Army?
Can we know if the Soviets would have succeeded in preventing them to withdraw everything in order? I have the same question regarding the withdrawal from the Crimea. What does that depend on?Such a general withdrawal might increase the relative German strength on a shorter line, but only assuming they can execute such a wholesale withdrawal unimpeded by the Soviets.
If the Germans withdraw from the Dnieper bend to the Bug and Syniukha rivers, avoiding also the Korsun pocket, and manage to stop the Soviet Zhitomir-Berdichev offensive, they would have a shorter and more defensible front, and more forces to defend it. That would have made it more difficult for the Soviets to continue the offensive.I do not see how such a maneuver guarantees the liberation of multiple, strong, Panzer forces for use in the West in June 1944.
A less successful Soviet offensive means that Army Group South needs less reinforcements and it isn't necessary to weaken the West. That leaves OB West with two Panzer divisions, one infantry division, one heavy tank battalion and two assault gun brigades more than IOTL, according to Liedtke's Lost in the mud. It is also probable that other divisions which IOTL were sent to Army Group South from other fronts could have been sent to the West.