That will take some time, but I will create a detailed thread when I can.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21I'm eagerly anticipating your German victory ATL with 1942 PoD.
I don't think Overlord was realistic in 1943 once Roosevelt committed himself to Torch on 07/30/1942. For a start, there were practically no U.S. forces in England until the conclusion of operations in Tunisia:TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21The biggest obstacle I see is FDR pushing up D-Day into 1943 if SU is on the ropes - but still strong - when Casablanca happens.
01/31/1943: 108,489 men, of which 19,431 ground troops
02/28/1943: 104,510 men, of which 19,173 ground troops
03/31/1943: 109,549 men, of which 19,205 ground troops
04/30/1943: 110,818 men, of which 19,184 ground troops
Source: Logistical Support of the Armies, Volume 1 (TABLE 3--TROOP BUILD-UP IN THE UNITED KINGDOM IN 1943)
It would have taken some time to transfer the forces from North Africa back to England, a transfer which could only have begun after mid-May. Perhaps a limited operation, with far weaker air support and intact German communication lines, could have been undertaken in the fall - but by then the Soviet Union would be a spent force, Mussolini would still be in power in Rome, and the Germans wouldn't need 700,000 men to garrison the Mediterranean littoral.
I don't think the Germans would need to defend in the East at all, elastically or otherwise: by the fall of 1943 the Soviet Union would be so weak that even significantly smaller forces could maintain an offensive posture.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21I can see potentially successful German responses, such as Ostheer defending weakly and elastically in 1943 and while a strengthened Westheer seeks to crush the Allied expeditionary force. Don't know if that works though.
As for the prospects of a landing, I think it might have been an opportunity for Germany to fight numerically inferior Anglo-American ground forces, in contested airspace and with functional German lines of communication.
The forces from Heeresgruppe Süd (B/A) were limited:TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21Even if not leading to Endsieg, alternate 1942 timelines are fascinating. Your suggestion that planning for Whirbelwind and Norlicht undercut Blau raises the issue of - can AG's North and South defend against the Soviet offensives in summer/fall '42 absent the forces envisioned for those offensives?
-To Heeresgruppe Nord went the 24., 132. and 170. Infanterie-Divisionen, as well as the 28. Jäger-Division
-To Heeresgruppe Mitte went the 72. and 95. Infanterie-Divisionen, the Grossdeutschland, as well as the 9. and 11. Panzer-Divisionen (the latter didn't fight at Rzhev)
Ditching Blau and keeping a compact frontline would be enough to free up at least as many, and realistically more, formations.
Not marooning the minor Axis armies on the steppe in front of the Don would also open up interesting options: for instance, relieving German Gebirgs-Divisionen in the Arctic with the Italian Alpini, and sending the former down to the main front. Or relieving German divisions guarding the Oranienbaum bridgehead with Hungarian light infantry divisions.
Better yet: don't make HGS the critical sector. Instead of extending the front while trying to do everything at once (i.e. taking the Caucasus, holding the Don/Volga front, liquidating Soviet forces in the Sukhinichi bulge and in Leningrad), attack in the south and roll up the Soviet armies up to Sukhinichi. Then either bag the forces between Rzhev and Demyansk or, if the Soviets still attack the 9. Armee, counter-attack them with your main body, then link-up with the 16. Armee at Demyansk.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21Maybe Ostheer abandons the Rzhev Salient in '42 and defends elastically everywhere but the critical AGS sector?
Then do Leningrad with your main body in October, so you keep taking large numbers of prisoners even during the muddy season.
In effect, destroy Soviet formations and capture territory, but in a manner that reduces rather than increases the length of the front. That way, each successive, self-contained operation frees up more formations for the next offensive and/or to serve as mobile reserves. The Soviets don't benefit from the reduced frontage, because in their case their Army shrinks in unison with the frontage.
Also, spread the minor Axis divisions all along the front, mainly to relieve German formations holding the line in areas non-conducive to mobile warfare.
I don't see that happening. My - clearly revisionist - view is that the USSR had, barring catastrophic German incompetence, lost the war when they threw away the opportunity to consolidate during the winter of 1941/42.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21I could see a situation developing in which Germany effectively stalemates RKKA somewhere between Donets and Don but Ostheer can't mount offensives.
If the Germans play their cards right, the Soviets won't ever get to the July 1943 force balance - they won't even maintain the August 1942 force balance. The RKKA will steadily contract until the force balance is such that the Germans can do Barbarossa redux.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑15 Nov 2021 04:21Think the OTL July 1943 balance but Ostheer has the 20 or so extra divisions it would have needed to stalemate the post-Kursk offensives.
To bring some figures to this conversation, between 05/01/1942 and 08/01/1942 (i.e., the period of German annihilation battles) Soviet Army + Navy strength fell from 11,787,122 to 10,970,553, a loss of 816,569 personnel (7% of their strength) over a three-month period.
See the data here, to which must be added 569,000 Navy personnel.
Here's a table that tracks Soviet force evolution (and "inputs/outputs") during the critical period of spring 1942 - spring 1943: