Kursk - An Alternative Plan

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Yoozername
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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Yoozername » 24 Feb 2017 17:11

I started a similar thread regarding Kursk. Many people will jump in and say with 20-20 hindsight, the Germans shouldn't have attacked at all. But, The political and military situation was sort of forcing the Germans hand. That is, the Italians and Romanians and Hungarians were fast losing confidence in the war, with the defeats and lack of success since 1941. The German military was bleeding infantry and resources month by month. They had stuck their heads into the defeat at Moscow, Stalingrad and then North Africa. Large chunks of the German military was being lost through surrenders and attrition.

The Germans needed a victory. The Panzer arm was the apparent decisive offensive force and the Germans had just begun to field a better force (or so they thought), and it was facing the campaign season and staring at a big bulge in the line. In retrospect, the Germans needed to start thinking about 1944. Something along the lines for 1943, on the eastern front, would be to take a defensive stand for the summer and plan a decisive action before the October weather. Basically look to have a winter position that would allow them to have superior air bases and lines of communications.

Personally, I think the Germans had 3-4 days to attack at Kursk and then back off. they needed to concentrate Heavy armor better and put all weapons, especially air power at one point.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by randwick » 03 Mar 2017 13:25

.
There also was the very good spring victory of Kharkov ,
Manstein wanted to attack as soon as possible , as the timetable slipped , his doubts increased
Model was not a shy general and as time passed believed a sharp victory would be increasingly costly

on the other hand dealing a major blow to the Soviet was seen as necessary before the western allied landed on the European mainland .
the waffen SS corps and other top units would have to be send West , leaving the Eastern front somewhat depleted
as in fact happened
there always was this idea that the soviets were exhausted and near breaking point .
that was not a complete fantasies , they were exhausted all right .

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Yoozername » 03 Mar 2017 14:50

there always was this idea that the soviets were exhausted and near breaking point .
that was not a complete fantasies , they were exhausted all right .
I assume you mean during the 3rd Kharkov battle? They were ready for the Germans at Kursk given the lull after Kharkov. April, May and June were actually very light months as far as KIA in the German army. More or less due to the muddy season and the Soviets reorganizing and taking a defensive stance. But the loss of over 74K Germans in North Africa was a blow in May 43 (MIA). They had lost over 200K in December 42/January 43 (KIA+MIA).

Manstein had pulled off a well timed miracle at Kharkov. Actually, he timed it well right before the spring thaw, basically leaving the Soviets defeated and pulling back.

The non-stop bleed off of the German army started in July 43 and kept going to the end of the war. The monthly losses and loss of territory continued and the Soviets pushed as hard as they could. The Soviets had turned the tables and they had the good weather till the rainy season in the Fall.

The Germans were the ones to be exhausted.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by steevh » 11 Mar 2017 12:21

The one advantage the Germans still had over the Russians in summer 1943 was the mobility of their panzer arm. Using it to attack prepared defences where the Russians had been given months of advance warning was really stupid.

They should have attacked when Manstein said, or, if they wanted to wait for new tank forces to build up, launch a surprise attack somewhere entirely different. Or not have attacked at all and used the panzers to thwart any Russian offensive.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Erwinn » 13 Mar 2017 15:09

I think you underestimate Russian strength again.

Russians only waited at Kursk because they were well aware of the German plans(Via Lucy Spy Ring) and dug in. I mean really dug in. With millions of mines, AT zones and most importantly with huge reserves(Which Germans didn't have)

Also Germans had to attack a numerically superior enemy.

Entire Kursk Offensive was pointless and costly as Guderian predicted. It might be succesful if it would have been started immediately after Kharkov. But after waiting for 3 months for a build-up, no one can expect Russians to be unprepared.

After they wear down Germans, their own offensive started and Germans retreated 300km in 2 months.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Yoozername » 13 Mar 2017 19:12

Starting anything right after Kharkov means attacking in the muddy season. The Germans possibly could have attacked late May or June. The wait for more tanks and Panthers was counter-productive.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by randwick » 05 Apr 2017 01:55

.
Kursk is a miniature of Barbarossa , a furious assault ultimately constrained by a lack of means .
the alternate plan proposed at the start seems to be a reinforced Southern punch alone .
it well might have reached Kursk , that would have been the start of their troubles
the Stavka would have launched the attack on Orel , that would have kept Model hands full
while Manstein would have been aggressed from three sides and his rear . good luck to him

There also is the issue of frontage density , up to a point it is good but too much crowding of units is not very productive
the Luftwaffe had fuel problems this would not change whatever the deployment

someone usually forgotten was battle group Kempf , the poor relation of citadel ,
somewhat under-equipped , they were tasked with a deep move to guard the SS panzer corp right flank ,
this they really couldn't do ,ran late on the timetable crossing the Donetsk river ,and got their head seriously kicked on the way .

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by corbulo » 23 Oct 2019 20:21

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Jan 2016 17:53
Why Kursk anyway?

Didn't Manstein originally want to break through just south of the Kursk salient and role up the Soviet forces down to Rostov?

Sid
That seems to me a better plan. Their backs and flanks would have been protected by the Sea of Azov and the Don/Donets rivers. ThecRed Army wrent exactly going to go anywhere from inside the salient. And Rostov was a key city to the south, bordering areas like Circassia and Dagestan/ Caucasus.. Does anyone know how easy it would have been to recruit ethnic Ukrainians to fight for Germany?

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by corbulo » 23 Oct 2019 20:29

Yoozername wrote:
24 Feb 2017 17:11
I started a similar thread regarding Kursk. Many people will jump in and say with 20-20 hindsight, the Germans shouldn't have attacked at all. But, The political and military situation was sort of forcing the Germans hand. That is, the Italians and Romanians and Hungarians were fast losing confidence in the war, with the defeats and lack of success since 1941. The German military was bleeding infantry and resources month by month. They had stuck their heads into the defeat at Moscow, Stalingrad and then North Africa. Large chunks of the German military was being lost through surrenders and attrition.

The Germans needed a victory. The Panzer arm was the apparent decisive offensive force and the Germans had just begun to field a better force (or so they thought), and it was facing the campaign season and staring at a big bulge in the line. In retrospect, the Germans needed to start thinking about 1944. Something along the lines for 1943, on the eastern front, would be to take a defensive stand for the summer and plan a decisive action before the October weather. Basically look to have a winter position that would allow them to have superior air bases and lines of communications.

Personally, I think the Germans had 3-4 days to attack at Kursk and then back off. they needed to concentrate Heavy armor better and put all weapons, especially air power at one point.
Youre right - they did need a victory or some demonstrable progress. But someone on here put forward the idea if attacking in the south towards Rostov and ignoring the salient. The Soviets werent exactly going to go anywhere from there. And the German forces, even though outnumbered, where far superior, pound for pound

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Aida1 » 23 Oct 2019 21:19

corbulo wrote:
23 Oct 2019 20:21
Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Jan 2016 17:53
Why Kursk anyway?

Didn't Manstein originally want to break through just south of the Kursk salient and role up the Soviet forces down to Rostov?

Sid
That seems to me a better plan. Their backs and flanks would have been protected by the Sea of Azov and the Don/Donets rivers. ThecRed Army wrent exactly going to go anywhere from inside the salient. And Rostov was a key city to the south, bordering areas like Circassia and Dagestan/ Caucasus.. Does anyone know how easy it would have been to recruit ethnic Ukrainians to fight for Germany?
Nothing as ambitious as that was envisaged. Only operations Habicht and Panther were planned which were attacks over the Donets by 1 PZ Army and AA Kempf to destroy Soviet forces west of Kupjansk..Were meant to protect the back of Zitadelle but were abandoned in april( Klink Dass Gesetz des handels DVA 1966 pp 57-71).

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Oct 2019 02:54

IMO the only interesting question from this period is why didn't the Soviets initiate the attack? The German offensive portion of the fighting went worse for RKKA than the rest of the operation; it would have been better to put the Germans and their breaking-down panzers on the back foot.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 25 Oct 2019 04:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Oct 2019 02:54
IMO the only interesting question from this period is why didn't the Soviets initiate the attack? The German offensive portion of the fighting went worse for RKKA than the rest of the operation; it would have been better to put the Germans and their breaking-down panzers on the back foot.
I guess the Soviet Union didn't have a good track record when it came to offensives at that point in the war. Aside from Operation Uranus, basically all the Soviet offensives had failed miserably. Stalin wasn't interested in any more failed offensives. Plus he wanted the Allies to actually put troops on the ground, which they finally did in Sicily before he launched his counter-attack.

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Oct 2019 04:50

The period July-August 1943 was largely Soviet offensive operations. Kursk was just the beginning. Essentially the bulk of german armored forces were in the region and became heavily written down in defensive battle. By Sept AGS was severely weakened and the German retreat in the East was in full swing. (Dnepr campaign)

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by corbulo » 07 Nov 2019 11:11

Michael Kenny wrote:
09 Jan 2016 04:09
General Assembly wrote:
If that happens, then heaven help the Allies in Sicily, and forget about Normandy. An extra year of German tank and aircraft production without Russian losses, puts more German tanks in France that the Allies could ever hope to handle.
So we substitute Berlin for Hiroshima. Germany can not win.
Would atom bombs have been used against white people...?

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Re: Kursk - An Alternative Plan

Post by corbulo » 07 Nov 2019 11:27

Yoozername wrote:
24 Feb 2017 17:11
Basically look to have a winter position that would allow them to have superior air bases and lines of communications.
Habicht/Panther? Maybe aim towards Rostov...?

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