Peter89 wrote: ↑
10 Sep 2018 19:55
The series of offensives planned by the AGN was thwarted by the Soviet attacks. All its accumulated resources were consumed by the intense fights. If you want divisional-level infos, I can give you some.
After Sinyavino was Vitebsk and preparations for a counteroffensive there. Hitler's plans were constantly changing and they were not in favor of Leningrad. He managed to link large settlements with strong defense of the enemy. Not taken Leningrad should not cause surprise, because there is a fortress.
During my visit to Vinnytsa, Hitler told me that the headquarters of the 11th Army was likely to be transferred to the Army Group Center in the Vitebsk region, where there were signs of a major offensive of the enemy in the near future. We had to respond, if possible, to the advancing enemy with a counter-offensive.
AGM was also heavily pounded, the Soviets were slowly gaining ground. Here, around Rhzev-Vyazma, Demjansk and Kholm, the main goal of the Germans was to help their forces to break out towards West, and establishing a proper front line. They even had difficulties with that.
The main goal was to hold the ledge. After the reduction of the front, 21 divisions went to other sectors of the front. If the Russians had pushed the Germans out of the ledge, there would have been no victory under Stalingrad. Hitler ordered to keep Rzhev for the future offensive against Moscow.
Boris Sokolov described the problem.
The most curious thing is that both Stalin and Zhukov had quite objective reasons to expect the Germans to advance in the Western direction. In the army group "Center" there were still more than 70 German divisions - more than in any other group of armies on the Eastern Front. In the south, 90 divisions participated in the general offensive, but more than half of them were made up by the allied units of Germany - Romania, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia. Their fighting efficiency was very much inferior to that of Germany. On one Rzhev-Vyazma bridgehead, which Hitler ordered to keep for the future, after reaching the main targets in the south, 42 divisions were concentrated to attack Moscow. When in February-March 1943 the Germans still had to abandon this bridgehead, by cutting the front line they managed to free 21 divisions. If his evacuation had been carried out in the spring or, at the worst, in the summer of the 42nd, these divisions would have gone to Stalingrad. The release of the same number of Soviet divisions would not restore equilibrium in the south, since their fighting efficiency was significantly lower. And it is by no means a fact that Stalin would have decided to weaken the Moscow direction. 21 German divisions - this power would be enough to prevent a catastrophe at Stalingrad. After all, then the flanks of Paulus's army would have been shielded not by weak Allied forces, but by full-fledged Germanic formations. I'm afraid that if Zhukov still managed to get the Germans to leave the Rzhev-Vyazma bridgehead, this could deprive the Red Army of victory at Stalingrad.