Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Max Payload
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 22 Dec 2020 17:39

KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 02:05
The Soviets were incapable of absorbing such losses. Between 1.5.1942 and 1.8.1942, the strength of the Red Army fell from 11,218,122 to 10,401,553 men, a reduction of 816,569, or 7% of their total strength. The only reason why they more-or-less maintained their strength in-theater over the summer is because they allocated the entirety of their 10 reserve armies, as well as miscellaneous units drawn from other areas, including inactive Caucasus districts and the Fronts facing Japan.

There were more targets of opportunity to pursue over the summer. Finishing off Leningrad would remove close to half-a-million Soviet troops, as would closing the Toropets bulge. A well-resourced effort against the Sukhinichi "salient", unlike the limited effort of Wirbelwind, was another option to bag a large prisoner haul.

Those operations, as well as every fruitless Soviet offensive, would contribute to shift the force ratio in favor of the Axis. Each successful operation would also release previously tied-up German formations, either to form reserves or to add to the next Schwerpunkt. Eventually, it would become feasible to restart the general offensive, and thus attain results similar to those you have outlined in this thread.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 00:51
With what resources? In April the Ostheer was still recovering from the effects of the Soviet winter offensives and ground conditions were generally unfavourable for deep offensive operations. By May the Red Army was being adequately supplied with weapons and supplies, and was approaching a manpower advantage over the Ostheer of 3:2. Stavka and the frontline commanders were still capable of making costly mistakes, but the more capable commanders were being identified and promoted.
As mentioned above, with the ressources they historically had in 1942, with which they attained just such results between May and July.
The results they obtained prior to Blau were primarily courtesy of Red Army blunders (Lyuban, Barvenkovo and Crimea). The losses to 39th Army in early July were similarly the result of failure to anticipate German potential offensive actions. But it is stretch to assume that the Red Army would continue to offer the Ostheer such easy wins going forward or that the Red Army would be debilitated by them to the point where the Ostheer could subsequently conduct a successful final knock-out blow.


KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 02:05
Max Payload wrote: What was the alternative? Another offensive on the Moscow axis?
That was what Stavka was expecting and where it had placed it’s reserves, that being a contributing factor to the early success of Blau.
As mentioned above, in response to TMP. I would add that it is a myth that Stalin had concentrated reserves away from the area hit by Fall Blau. We have the OOB of the Red Army for July 1st, and it shows:

Kalinin Front/Western Front/Moscow DZ: 1,830,980 men, 18,606 guns and heavy mortars, 2,418 tanks
Bryansk Front/South-Western Front/Southern Front: 1,715,165 men, 17,428 guns and heavy mortars, 2,298 tanks


Overall figures for the entire Eastern Front, on the basis of which those shares have been calculated, come from Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis, p2, by Zetterling and Frankson.

It is true that the STAVKA anticipated an attack against Moscow, but the southern anchor of their defensive system was the Bryansk Front. It is where they concentrated 7 of their 17 active tank corps, a further 4 being allocated to the South-Western Front. These substantial forces, as well as additional tank formations held in STAVKA reserve, were mauled by the Germans in the opening phase of Fall Blau on the Voronezh direction.

I think the tank corps figures were 5 of 17 with 6 in Southwestern Front, but I don’t understand why you included Bryansk Front in the comparison you made between the the central and southern axes. Bryansk Front was withdrawn from the Southwestern Direction command and placed under direct Stavka control for the precise reason that the German offensive was expected to strike northeast from the Kursk/Orel area along the general line Livny-Efremov-Venev towards Moscow or possibly even further east. That was why Bryansk Front’s substantial reserve of five tank corps, three rifle divisions, five cavalry divisions and several brigades were positioned east and northeast of Livny and it was why the bulk of the nine new reserve armies in the process of forming up in June were in the Moscow area. Just in terms of rifle divisions Kalinin/Western/Bryansk Fronts (all under direct Stavka control) had 124 at the end of June, while Southwestern Command (Southwestern/Southern Fronts) had only 55. Bryansk Front was relatively unaffected by Blau compared to Southwestern Direction, though it’s left flank 40th Army did bear the initial brunt of the offensive.
KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 02:05
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 00:51
Noteworthy perhaps (and the 1941/42 winter offensive against AGC can hardly be described as a costly failure) but Germany was not going to defeat the Soviet Union by thwarting Red Army offensives.
Inasmuch as thwarting Red Army offensives attrited the Soviets, it would play a part in defeating the USSR. As for the winter campaign of 1941-2, I would refer you to this book by David Stahel. The Soviets would have been in a far better position, come spring, had they suspended all offensive operations in early January. Indeed, the winter offensive of early 1942 must rank as one of Stalin's seminal mistakes of WW2.
Stahel is correct to point out that as the offensive progressed it produced diminishing returns, and Stalin was wrong to ignore Zhukov’s advice to concentrate the winter’s offensive effort against AGC instead of dissipating it along the entire frontline, but the Moscow counteroffensive could hardly be characterised as anything other than a major German defeat.

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 22 Dec 2020 18:54

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Dec 2020 05:31

I take as fundamental a '41 German ability to encircle any Soviet forces facing double envelopment by two panzer armies. This was fundamental German/Prussian doctrine for over a century, updated after WW1 by Seekt et. al. to mechanized conditions. Absent some infeasible counterfactual about perfect intelligence and Kursk-like field defenses, '41 RKKA couldn't stop a panzer penetration and its units lacked the mobility to escape encirclement even were the directive to retreat with all possible speed. So IMO it's a military fundamental that some large portion of units that stand and fight in '41 will be encircled.
On november-december 1941.year Germany army was fail on double envelopment on Moscow.

It seems to me somebody was forget on inform Red army on tmp fundamental and they was not fight like was imagine tmp.

Perhaps somebody was forget on inform Germany army on tmp fundamental. They was make mistake for to use three panzer armies when was fail on real history. When they was use two panzer armies it was can for to be victory on tmp fundamental.

KDF33
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by KDF33 » 22 Dec 2020 20:08

Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
The results they obtained prior to Blau were primarily courtesy of Red Army blunders (Lyuban, Barvenkovo and Crimea). The losses to 39th Army in early July were similarly the result of failure to anticipate German potential offensive actions. But it is stretch to assume that the Red Army would continue to offer the Ostheer such easy wins going forward or that the Red Army would be debilitated by them to the point where the Ostheer could subsequently conduct a successful final knock-out blow.
Inasmuch as leaving exposed forces in salients or in small exclaves is obviously a blunder, then yes, that certainly helped the Germans.

I would, however, question whether the Soviets were learning not to do that. There was no line-straightening after the aforementioned encirclement battles. Leningrad, Toropets, Sukhnichi were all still presenting targets of opportunity.

Then there's the issue of Blau itself, which wasn't conducted against a salient and bagged over 300,000 men in July.

Finally, what makes you confident that a continued series of blows similar to the May-July period wouldn't debilitate the RKKA? Trends were certainly moving in that direction until the Germans dissipated their effort.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
I think the tank corps figures were 5 of 17 with 6 in Southwestern Front,
It was 7: 1st, 4th, 16th, 17th, 24th, as well as 2nd and 11th in Fifth Tank Army.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
but I don’t understand why you included Bryansk Front in the comparison you made between the the central and southern axes.
For two reasons.

First, Fall Blau was launched against the Bryansk Front. Armeegruppe Weichs started the campaign directly opposing two of its four armies, namely the 13th and the 40th. The Front's 48th Army also held the junction between 2. Panzerarmee and Armeegruppe Weichs. Finally, the Germans were counterattacked by Bryansk Front's armor-heavy reserve in early July to the north of Voronezh. Thus, apart from the Soviet 3rd Army, which was holding the line in front of Orel, almost all of Bryansk Front was engaged in the early phase of Blau.

To give you a detailed breakdown:

Rifle divisions: 14 out of 24 directly engaged, + 4 in 48th Army holding 2. Panzerarmee/Armeegruppe Weichs' junction
Cavalry divisions: 2 out of 6 directly engaged, + 1 in 48th Army
NKVD division: Elements of 1 division directly engaged, but not as a full division
Tank corps: 7 out of 7 directly engaged

Rifle brigades: 6 out of 10 directly engaged, + 2 in 48th Army
Tank brigades: 4 out of 8 directly engaged, + 2 in 48th Army

Of the forces held in Bryansk Front's reserve, only the 7th Cavalry Corps and elements of the 2nd NKVD special-purpose MR division remained uncommitted against the northern wing of Blau.

Second, that's how the (Russian) documents present the data. They assign Bryansk Front to the South-Western Direction on July 1st.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
Bryansk Front was withdrawn from the Southwestern Direction command and placed under direct Stavka control for the precise reason that the German offensive was expected to strike northeast from the Kursk/Orel area along the general line Livny-Efremov-Venev towards Moscow or possibly even further east. That was why Bryansk Front’s substantial reserve of five tank corps, three rifle divisions, five cavalry divisions and several brigades were positioned east and northeast of Livny
Now you're just making my argument for me. The Germans did attack from Kursk, and the STAVKA did react by committing its reserve forces held around Livny. The result? They took heavy casualties, the Tank Corps being reduced to the strength of mere brigades in a little over a week of fighting.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
and it was why the bulk of the nine new reserve armies in the process of forming up in June were in the Moscow area.
There were ten, and I'd like to see some evidence that they were concentrated around Moscow. I remember seeing a map on this forum that showed they were deployed in an arc going from the Volkhov Front to Stalingrad. At the vert least, 3 of them were behind the South-Western and Southern Fronts, namely the 5th, 6th and 7th.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
Just in terms of rifle divisions Kalinin/Western/Bryansk Fronts (all under direct Stavka control) had 124 at the end of June, while Southwestern Command (Southwestern/Southern Fronts) had only 55. Bryansk Front was relatively unaffected by Blau compared to Southwestern Direction, though it’s left flank 40th Army did bear the initial brunt of the offensive.
As shown above, Bryansk Front was not "relatively unaffected" by Blau. It bore the brunt of the initial assault, and is where the Soviet mobile reserve that tried to check the offensive came from. Admittedly most POWs came from South-Western and Southern Fronts, but then again the Germans could successfully wheel south because they had broken Bryansk Front's offensive capabilities.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 23 Dec 2020 02:52

KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 20:08
Finally, what makes you confident that a continued series of blows similar to the May-July period wouldn't debilitate the RKKA? Trends were certainly moving in that direction until the Germans dissipated their effort.
You are assuming that the Red Army would continue to be vulnerable to “a continued series of blows similar to the May-July period” without learning from earlier errors and correcting them. Even assuming that the blows continued, the process takes time, does not achieve significant territorial advance, and would have been unlikely to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be built up.
KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 20:08
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
I think the tank corps figures were 5 of 17 with 6 in Southwestern Front,
It was 7: 1st, 4th, 16th, 17th, 24th, as well as 2nd and 11th in Fifth Tank Army.
A minor point, and correct me if I’m wrong, but on 27 June, 4th and 24th Tank Corps were in 21st Army’s (Southwestern Front’s) operational area southeast of Belgorod, being reassigned to the Kastornoe area at the beginning of July.

KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 20:08
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
but I don’t understand why you included Bryansk Front in the comparison you made between the the central and southern axes.
For two reasons.

First, Fall Blau was launched against the Bryansk Front. Armeegruppe Weichs started the campaign directly opposing two of its four armies, namely the 13th and the 40th. The Front's 48th Army also held the junction between 2. Panzerarmee and Armeegruppe Weichs. Finally, the Germans were counterattacked by Bryansk Front's armor-heavy reserve in early July to the north of Voronezh. Thus, apart from the Soviet 3rd Army, which was holding the line in front of Orel, almost all of Bryansk Front was engaged in the early phase of Blau.

To give you a detailed breakdown:

Rifle divisions: 14 out of 24 directly engaged, + 4 in 48th Army holding 2. Panzerarmee/Armeegruppe Weichs' junction
Cavalry divisions: 2 out of 6 directly engaged, + 1 in 48th Army
NKVD division: Elements of 1 division directly engaged, but not as a full division
Tank corps: 7 out of 7 directly engaged

Rifle brigades: 6 out of 10 directly engaged, + 2 in 48th Army
Tank brigades: 4 out of 8 directly engaged, + 2 in 48th Army

Of the forces held in Bryansk Front's reserve, only the 7th Cavalry Corps and elements of the 2nd NKVD special-purpose MR division remained uncommitted against the northern wing of Blau.

Second, that's how the (Russian) documents present the data. They assign Bryansk Front to the South-Western Direction on July 1st.
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
Bryansk Front was withdrawn from the Southwestern Direction command and placed under direct Stavka control for the precise reason that the German offensive was expected to strike northeast from the Kursk/Orel area along the general line Livny-Efremov-Venev towards Moscow or possibly even further east. That was why Bryansk Front’s substantial reserve of five tank corps, three rifle divisions, five cavalry divisions and several brigades were positioned east and northeast of Livny
Now you're just making my argument for me. The Germans did attack from Kursk, and the STAVKA did react by committing its reserve forces held around Livny.
The right wing of 13th Army was on the left bank of the Sosna facing a couple of divisions on the extreme left flank of AGS (Weichs’ grouping) and was involved in some low-level fairly inconsequential combat. The left wing of 13th Army on the right bank of the Sosna was pushed back some 20-30km and, with some reinforcement, held the shoulder of the German penetration south of Livny. And as you noted, the attacks on Hoth’s flank further east mainly involved the Front reserve. None of that invalidates the fact that Stavka expected, and had prepared for, an offensive from the Orel/Kursk area to the northeast, not the southeast. It was why Western Front had five tank corps in its order of battle and why Bryansk, Western, Kalinin and Northwestern Fronts were under direct a Stavka control. To claim that Blau was launched against Bryansk Front is an over-simplication. It was initially launched against 40th Army, clipping the left wing of 13th Army in the process, in order to encircle Southwestern Front, and the fact that Bryansk Front’s reserves were used against Hoth’s flank is hardly surprising.
I’m not sure your reference to 48th Army is valid. The left flank division of AGS was 299 ID which faced the right flank division of 13th Army (132nd RD) west of Mochily. So 48th Army was north of the AGS/AGC operational boundary and not involved in the AGS offensive.
KDF33 wrote:
22 Dec 2020 20:08
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
and it was why the bulk of the nine new reserve armies in the process of forming up in June were in the Moscow area.
There were ten, and I'd like to see some evidence that they were concentrated around Moscow. I remember seeing a map on this forum that showed they were deployed in an arc going from the Volkhov Front to Stalingrad. At the vert least, 3 of them were behind the South-Western and Southern Fronts, namely the 5th, 6th and 7th.
Yes, three of the reserve armies were on the Southwestern Direction axis east of the Don. A fourth (3 RA) was east of Bryansk Front at Tambov and the rest were further north; and again, correct me if I am wrong, but the Tenth Reserve Army wasn’t formed until after Blue had commenced.

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2020 09:40

Max Payload wrote:Even assuming that the blows continued, the process takes time, does not achieve significant territorial advance, and would have been unlikely to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be built up.
I've expressed doubts about KDF33's proposed strategy but it's at least an intelligent argument whereas this is pure unsupported emoting.

It's the problem with basing your views on what most people believe. Any semi-literate can parrot the thoughts of others; it takes an independent and analytical mind to move understanding forward.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
FDR: "The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians."

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by KDF33 » 23 Dec 2020 11:56

Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
You are assuming that the Red Army would continue to be vulnerable to “a continued series of blows similar to the May-July period” without learning from earlier errors and correcting them.
Yes, and you are assuming the opposite. On the basis of what evidence?

I also question the thesis according to which Red Army defeats were caused by "mistakes" that could be corrected by "learning". I see them more as a reflection of the belligerents' respective fundamentals.

I'm genuinely curious, though: in the context of 1942, what lessons do you believe the Soviets could operationalize to prevent the Wehrmacht from inflicting on them lopsided defeats?
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
Even assuming that the blows continued, the process takes time, does not achieve significant territorial advance, and would have been unlikely to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be built up.
It wouldn't have been "unlikely" to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be reconstituted. Its not a counterfactual - it's literally what happened. The Soviets only recovered from the summer campaign when major fighting subsided in the autumn.

Even at the beginning of Uranus, the RKKA had less personnel than at the beginning of Blau.

Beyond this, an attrition-based strategy doesn't preclude territorial gains. Just... not unrealistic leaps, such as Fall Blau.
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
A minor point, and correct me if I’m wrong, but on 27 June, 4th and 24th Tank Corps were in 21st Army’s (Southwestern Front’s) operational area southeast of Belgorod, being reassigned to the Kastornoe area at the beginning of July.
Both 4th and 24th Tank Corps joined Bryansk Front on June 28th. On that day, 24th TK was at Stary Oskol, behind 40th Army. I don't know the precise location of 4th TK, however.

17th TK had also just been transferred to Bryansk Front, and was a few kilometers to the west of Voronezh when Fall Blau began.

16th TK had arrived mid-June at Kastornoye.

It appears to me that the Soviets were (correctly) regrouping on the expected axis of the forthcoming German offensive.
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
The right wing of 13th Army was on the left bank of the Sosna facing a couple of divisions on the extreme left flank of AGS (Weichs’ grouping) and was involved in some low-level fairly inconsequential combat. The left wing of 13th Army on the right bank of the Sosna was pushed back some 20-30km and, with some reinforcement, held the shoulder of the German penetration south of Livny. And as you noted, the attacks on Hoth’s flank further east mainly involved the Front reserve. None of that invalidates the fact that Stavka expected, and had prepared for, an offensive from the Orel/Kursk area to the northeast, not the southeast.
Yes, Stavka was expecting an offensive to the northeast. It doesn't change the fact that they expected it to be launched roughly from where it actually started, and reacted accordingly. That it eventually turned south instead of north doesn't invalidate the fact that the Soviet counterattack was a complete failure that sucked in and spit out the vast majority of their mobile formations built over the spring.

To give a quick overview:

At the beginning of Blau, the RKKA had 22 Tank Corps.

By July 7th, 9 were committed to the battle of Voronezh: 5 with Bryansk Front, counterattacking on the flank (1st, 16th + 2nd, 7th, 11th in 5TA), 4 with the newly-created Voronezh Front, fighting around the city itself (4th, 17th, 18th, 24th). A tenth TK, the 25th from RVGK, was starting to deploy in the Voronezh area. 2 of Western Front's 6 Tank Corps were just being committed to counterattack 2. Panzerarmee in the Zhizdra (10th) and Bolkhov (3rd) sectors, as part of Zhukov's failed offensive aiming to divert German armor from Voronezh. 4 (13th, 14th, 22nd, 23rd) were with South-Western Front, in the process of being pushed towards the Don by 6. Armee.

12th and 15th TK had been rushed to Yefremov then to Chern, roughly behind the junction of Western and Bryansk Front. They remained uncommitted until 2. Panzerarmee's Wirbelwind offensive in August.

The last four TK (5th, 6th, 8th, 9th) were around Moscow.

Those 22 Tank Corps held about 3,347 tanks between them (reports are for different dates in the May-to-early July timeframe). 16 of those Corps, holding a total of 2,541 tanks, were engaged either against Blau's main axis or in relief offensives.

The Soviets thus committed about 3/4 of their total Tank Corps (either with the Fronts or in reserve) to stopping Fall Blau. They failed, and those formations were decimated. The Soviets recorded the total loss of 2,436 tanks for their Voronezh-Voroshilovgrad Defensive Operation, which doesn't capture the full extent of their losses in July (it mainly misses Seydlitz, Zhizdra-Bolkhov, a limited Soviet offensive against Demyansk mid-month, the fighting in the Don bend after mid-July, and the last week of July around Voronezh and around Rostov).

To illustrate the damage among individual formations, we have some data here.

On the flank of the German advance, we have:

1st TK: No data, but another source shows they lost close to a third (1,929 / 6,746 men) of their personnel 28.6-24.7
2nd TK: Drops from 183 on July 6th to 55 on July 17th, of which only 21 are serviceable.
7th TK: Drops from 212 on July 6th to 107 on July 17th, of which only 62 are serviceable.
11th TK: Drops from 181 on July 6th to 105 on July 17th, of which only 61 are serviceable.
16th TK: Drops from 181 on June 28th to 45 on July 13th, of which only 12 are serviceable.

Around Voronezh, we have:

4th TK: No data
17th TK: No data
18th TK: Drops from 181 on July 3rd to 106 on July 23rd (no data on serviceability), despite receiving 83 additional tanks in reinforcements.
24th TK: Drops from 141 on June 28th to 32 on July 20th, of which only 21 are serviceable.
25th TK: 159 on July 8th, just arrived, presumably still intact mid-month and most complete TK in Voronezh Front

If we take the four Corps with strength returns on the Livny axis, we have 156 serviceable vehicles around mid-July. For comparison's sake, just the 24. Panzer had 141 runners on July 18th (Panzertruppen vol. 1, p. 248).

In effect, the Soviets lost their mobile offensive power in July 1942. It would take them until November to reconstitute it.
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
It was why Western Front had five tank corps in its order of battle and why Bryansk, Western, Kalinin and Northwestern Fronts were under direct a Stavka control. To claim that Blau was launched against Bryansk Front is an over-simplication. It was initially launched against 40th Army, clipping the left wing of 13th Army in the process, in order to encircle Southwestern Front, and the fact that Bryansk Front’s reserves were used against Hoth’s flank is hardly surprising.
It wasn't just launched against Bryansk Front, but that's still where the main weight of the German offensive was allocated, and that's also where the decisive engagement of the campaign (Voronezh) occurred.

As listed previously, and putting aside the NKVD division of which just elements participated, 23 out of 37 divisions/tank corps of the Bryansk Front were directly engaged by Blau. That's almost 2/3 of the Front's division-sized units.

As you mention, none of this is surprising. It is, however, significant. It indicates that the Germans could engage the main Soviet mobile reserves, reduce them to remnants, and come out relatively unscathed. It also indicates that the forces engaged by Blau weren't much weaker than those facing Army Group Center: 89.5 divisions/tank corps + 53 brigades, against 132.5 divisions/tank corps + 81 brigades. That's about 2/3 of the Kalinin/Western/Moscow DZ/Bryansk's 3rd Army total. One could say that a 30%+ difference is very significant, but one should keep in mind that the frontage of HG Mitte was much longer than that of HG Süd, and thus that Soviet force density north of Kursk was unlikely to be better than south of Kursk, if not worse.

This is reflected in each direction's reserve forces. Thus, Kalinin and West (plus RVGK in the area) had:

-6 rifle divisions + 11 rifle brigades
-8 cavalry divisions (including the 7th Cavalry Corps of Bryansk Front)
-10 tank corps + 7 tank brigades

Whereas Bryansk, South-Western and Southern (again with local RVGK) had:

-9 rifle divisions + 7 rifle brigades
-5 cavalry divisions
-9 tank corps + 10 tank brigades

The southern sector had an additional three tank corps in Army, rather than Front, reserve.

Then there were the 10 reserve armies, for which we are still missing the location of 6 out of 10.
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
I’m not sure your reference to 48th Army is valid. The left flank division of AGS was 299 ID which faced the right flank division of 13th Army (132nd RD) west of Mochily. So 48th Army was north of the AGS/AGC operational boundary and not involved in the AGS offensive.
299. ID was facing both 132nd RD (13th Army) and 280th RD (48th Army). The junction between 2. Panzerarmee and Armeegruppe Weichs was definitely covered by 48th Army, as can be seen here.
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
Yes, three of the reserve armies were on the Southwestern Direction axis east of the Don. A fourth (3 RA) was east of Bryansk Front at Tambov and the rest were further north; and again, correct me if I am wrong, but the Tenth Reserve Army wasn’t formed until after Blue had commenced.
Well, that's already 4 out of 10 reserve armies, none of which are yet around Moscow. If my memory serves me, I'm confident that if we find a map, we'll see that the last 6 are running in an arc from around the Volkhov Front to Tula.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 24 Dec 2020 00:20

KDF33 wrote:
23 Dec 2020 11:56
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
You are assuming that the Red Army would continue to be vulnerable to “a continued series of blows similar to the May-July period” without learning from earlier errors and correcting them.
Yes, and you are assuming the opposite. On the basis of what evidence?

I also question the thesis according to which Red Army defeats were caused by "mistakes" that could be corrected by "learning". I see them more as a reflection of the belligerents' respective fundamentals.

I'm genuinely curious, though: in the context of 1942, what lessons do you believe the Soviets could operationalize to prevent the Wehrmacht from inflicting on them lopsided defeats?
Max Payload wrote:
23 Dec 2020 02:52
Even assuming that the blows continued, the process takes time, does not achieve significant territorial advance, and would have been unlikely to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be built up.
It wouldn't have been "unlikely" to erode Red Army capability faster than it could be reconstituted. Its not a counterfactual - it's literally what happened. The Soviets only recovered from the summer campaign when major fighting subsided in the autumn.

Even at the beginning of Uranus, the RKKA had less personnel than at the beginning of Blau.

Beyond this, an attrition-based strategy doesn't preclude territorial gains. Just... not unrealistic leaps, such as Fall Blau.
On what basis would I expect Red Army operational performance to improve? Well, because, in your words, ‘it’s literally what happened’. Red Army performance in the summer of 1943, both defensively and offensively, was far more effective than it had been a year earlier, and that improvement was a process, not an event.
I’m not sure what you mean by Red Army ‘fundamentals’, but if one of those fundamentals was a willingness to commit large forces into salients with the narrowest of supply corridors, then the events at Lyuban, Barvenkovo and Olenino proved to be sobering learning experiences. (The only subsequent time I can recall when this was done deliberately - as opposed to formations advancing too far without adequate recon - was Konev’s commitment of two tank armies to the Koltuv corridor in July ‘44).
If one of those fundamentals was the command confusion caused by dual command, that was resolved on 9 October 1942 when the institution of the military commissar was abolished. (The demotion of Mekhlis after the Crimea fiasco must have been a relief to many senior commanders).
If one of those fundamentals was the appointment of politically reliable but militarily incompetent personnel to senior command positions, that had been in the process of being resolved for some time.
If one of those fundamentals was the poor standard of staff work at divisional/brigade/regimental level by inexperienced personnel, that too was undergoing steady improvement.
Or if you are referring to the wasteful commitment of infantry to frontal assault without adequate support, or the commitment of armour to breakthrough points without adequate supply or infantry support, that too was largely forbidden practice by the summer of 1943.
And this far from a comprehensive list.

As for the relative rates of loss and reinforcement, much depends on timescale. If you start the clock at the commencement of a carefully planned major offensive and stop it when the offensive runs out of steam (say 28/6/42 to 19/11/42) then you are likely to find a diminution in the opposing force’s strength. But if you select a different timescale, say the beginning to the end of 1942, then no such diminution would be found, either in personnel numbers or operational tank strength, quite the reverse in fact and by a substantial margin.

So to turn your question around, on the basis of what evidence do you conclude that a series of piecemeal ‘lopsided defeats’ could have been inflicted on Soviet Union in the second half of 1942 on a scale greater than the OTL, let alone on a scale that would have been sufficient to have led to a comprehensive defeat of the Soviet Union?

Finally, another minor point, the fact that part of a division of 48th Army may have faced part of a division of Second Army at the northern tip of AGS’s line on a static sector of the front does not really merit the claim that 48 Army and it’s resources were ‘engaged in the early phase of Blau’.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by KDF33 » 24 Dec 2020 07:02

Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
On what basis would I expect Red Army operational performance to improve? Well, because, in your words, ‘it’s literally what happened’. Red Army performance in the summer of 1943, both defensively and offensively, was far more effective than it had been a year earlier, and that improvement was a process, not an event.
I assume that Red Army formations improved somewhat between 1942 and 1943, but a better question would be how significant whatever improvements that did happen were on the outcome of operations.

To point to improved outcomes in 1943 is not sufficient to demonstrate that thesis. The force ratio was far more favorable to the Soviets in 1943 than it had been in 1942, and still they took roughly 5 combat casualties for every one German during their summer and fall offensives. They struggled mightily to break the German line to a real operational extent, and failed at multiple points, as against 1. Panzerarmee and 6. Armee in July, 18. Armee in July - August, and 4. Armee during August.

They really started consistently pushing the Germans back only after the latter's infantry and mobile formations had been severely attrited during July and August.

I suggest checking the data for the summer of 1943. The Soviet personnel and material superiority is on a whole other level, compared to 1942 or even to the early months of 1943.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
I’m not sure what you mean by Red Army ‘fundamentals’
A few things:

-Their equipment holdings
-Their supply, including ammunition
-The fighting proficiency of their units, which was consistently low for the entire war
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
but if one of those fundamentals was a willingness to commit large forces into salients with the narrowest of supply corridors, then the events at Lyuban, Barvenkovo and Olenino proved to be sobering learning experiences. (The only subsequent time I can recall when this was done deliberately - as opposed to formations advancing too far without adequate recon - was Konev’s commitment of two tank armies to the Koltuv corridor in July ‘44).
There were many other Soviet salients after those pockets had been cleared.

Besides, the Germans didn't need salients to bag large numbers of POWs, as demonstrated by Blau in July.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
If one of those fundamentals was the command confusion caused by dual command, that was resolved on 9 October 1942 when the institution of the military commissar was abolished. (The demotion of Mekhlis after the Crimea fiasco must have been a relief to many senior commanders).
If one of those fundamentals was the appointment of politically reliable but militarily incompetent personnel to senior command positions, that had been in the process of being resolved for some time.
If one of those fundamentals was the poor standard of staff work at divisional/brigade/regimental level by inexperienced personnel, that too was undergoing steady improvement.
Or if you are referring to the wasteful commitment of infantry to frontal assault without adequate support, or the commitment of armour to breakthrough points without adequate supply or infantry support, that too was largely forbidden practice by the summer of 1943.
And this far from a comprehensive list.
I question whether those measures would have been enough to seize the initiative, absent the much-improved force ratio.

WIth regards to the last point, I fail to see how the Soviets were any less "wasteful" of either infantry or armor in 1943 than in 1942.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
As for the relative rates of loss and reinforcement, much depends on timescale. If you start the clock at the commencement of a carefully planned major offensive and stop it when the offensive runs out of steam (say 28/6/42 to 19/11/42) then you are likely to find a diminution in the opposing force’s strength.
I'm not following the logic here. The point is that the RKKA contracted in May-July, and stagnated in August-September. It was only when the operational tempo (not of Blau, but across the front) fell in October-November that the RKKA started growing again.

And I don't mean the RKKA at the front. I mean the entire RKKA, either at the front, in reserve, or inactive.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
But if you select a different timescale, say the beginning to the end of 1942, then no such diminution would be found, either in personnel numbers or operational tank strength, quite the reverse in fact and by a substantial margin.
Sure. I'm unclear as to how this contradicts any of my points, but yes, the Soviet military establishment grew between 1.1.1942 and 31.12.1942.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
So to turn your question around, on the basis of what evidence do you conclude that a series of piecemeal ‘lopsided defeats’ could have been inflicted on Soviet Union in the second half of 1942 on a scale greater than the OTL, let alone on a scale that would have been sufficient to have led to a comprehensive defeat of the Soviet Union?
I don't have the energy right now to write a detailed response, but I'll address this in a separate post.
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
Finally, another minor point, the fact that part of a division of 48th Army may have faced part of a division of Second Army at the northern tip of AGS’s line on a static sector of the front does not really merit the claim that 48 Army and it’s resources were ‘engaged in the early phase of Blau’.
My point is that it was as much facing HGM as HGS, and thus shouldn't be added to the balance of forces on the "Moscow" axis.

More fundamentally, my calculations give this:

Against HGM: 132.5 divisions/TK + 81 brigades across about 1,250 km of front, ie. about 7.8 km per division-equivalent
Junction: 5 divisions + 4 brigades (48th Army)
Against HGS: 89.5 divisions/TK + 53 brigades across about 900 km of front, ie. about 8.4 km per division-equivalent

There was very little difference between Soviet force density on the "Moscow" axis and on the "Blau" axis. Furthermore, given the positioning of Soviet mobile reserves, Blau I struck in the teeth of the Soviet tank corps. The Germans emerged victorious, with largely intact mobile formations. As for the Soviets, I've already detailed the state of their tank corps at the tail end of the Voronezh battle.

Is this moving your perspective away from the well-worn myth that Blau's opening phase succeeded because the Soviets were concentrated away at Moscow?

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 24 Dec 2020 12:26

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02
Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 00:20
On what basis would I expect Red Army operational performance to improve? Well, because, in your words, ‘it’s literally what happened’. Red Army performance in the summer of 1943, both defensively and offensively, was far more effective than it had been a year earlier, and that improvement was a process, not an event.
I assume that Red Army formations improved somewhat between 1942 and 1943, but a better question would be how significant whatever improvements that did happen were on the outcome of operations.

To point to improved outcomes in 1943 is not sufficient to demonstrate that thesis.
I wasn’t aware that I was advancing a thesis, and certainly not a circular one that proposed improved outcomes were the result of improved outcomes. Improved operational performance was the result of two years of operational and tactical experience of what worked, what didn’t, what was needed to win (or to not lose so badly), and what to avoid both on and behind the frontlines.

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02
The force ratio was far more favorable to the Soviets in 1943 than it had been in 1942, and still they took roughly 5 combat casualties for every one German during their summer and fall offensives. They struggled mightily to break the German line to a real operational extent, and failed at multiple points, as against 1. Panzerarmee and 6. Armee in July, 18. Armee in July - August, and 4. Armee during August.

They really started consistently pushing the Germans back only after the latter's infantry and mobile formations had been severely attrited during July and August.
Indeed. Throughout history that has usually been the course of a battle or campaign - attrition to the point of collapse.
The second half of 1943 saw the highest six-month casualty rate for the Red Army in the entire war, yet this was a time during which it drove the Ostheer back hundreds of kilometres from the Mius to the Molochnaya in the south, from Orel to the Sozh and middle Dnepr in the centre and from Rzhev to Velizh in the north.

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02

I suggest checking the data for the summer of 1943. The Soviet personnel and material superiority is on a whole other level, compared to 1942 or even to the early months of 1943. ...
The point is that the RKKA contracted in May-July, and stagnated in August-September. It was only when the operational tempo (not of Blau, but across the front) fell in October-November that the RKKA started growing again.

And I don't mean the RKKA at the front. I mean the entire RKKA, either at the front, in reserve, or inactive.
Yes, the generosity of OKH in reducing its operational tempo to allow the Red Army to achieve greater personnel and material superiority is puzzling.

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02

WIth regards to the last point, I fail to see how the Soviets were any less "wasteful" of either infantry or armor in 1943 than in 1942.

It depends how you define wasteful. Heavy losses for no obvious gain, certainly. Heavy losses for tangible gain, more debatable.

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02

More fundamentally, my calculations give this:

Against HGM: 132.5 divisions/TK + 81 brigades across about 1,250 km of front, ie. about 7.8 km per division-equivalent
Junction: 5 divisions + 4 brigades (48th Army)
Against HGS: 89.5 divisions/TK + 53 brigades across about 900 km of front, ie. about 8.4 km per division-equivalent

There was very little difference between Soviet force density on the "Moscow" axis and on the "Blau" axis. Furthermore, given the positioning of Soviet mobile reserves, Blau I struck in the teeth of the Soviet tank corps. The Germans emerged victorious, with largely intact mobile formations. As for the Soviets, I've already detailed the state of their tank corps at the tail end of the Voronezh battle.

Is this moving your perspective away from the well-worn myth that Blau's opening phase succeeded because the Soviets were concentrated away at Moscow?
My cruder calculation is Kalinin/Western/Bryansk Fronts (along the expected axes of attack towards Moscow and all under direct Stavka control after Western Command had been disbanded and Bryansk Front had been removed from Southwestern Command) had 124 infantry division and 11 tank corps. Southwestern Command (Southwestern/Southern Fronts, which were not expected to face the Ostheer’s summer offensive) had only 55 infantry divisions and six tank corps, two of which were in 21st Army’s operational zone adjacent to Bryansk Front. So no, my perspective has not changed.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 24 Dec 2020 16:27

KDF33 wrote:
24 Dec 2020 07:02
There were many other Soviet salients after those pockets had been cleared.
Salients yes, but salients with narrow access corridors into which substantial forces were deliberately committed?
I am aware of two during Operation Mars, the results of which could only have confirmed the lessons from earlier in the year - don’t stick your head in a noose.
Other than that, what?
From where were the lopsided attrition-based defeats that would bring the SU to its knees to come if not from ‘unrealistic leaps, such as Fall Blau’?

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by KDF33 » 25 Dec 2020 00:20

Max Payload wrote:
24 Dec 2020 12:26
My cruder calculation is Kalinin/Western/Bryansk Fronts (along the expected axes of attack towards Moscow and all under direct Stavka control after Western Command had been disbanded and Bryansk Front had been removed from Southwestern Command) had 124 infantry division and 11 tank corps. Southwestern Command (Southwestern/Southern Fronts, which were not expected to face the Ostheer’s summer offensive) had only 55 infantry divisions and six tank corps, two of which were in 21st Army’s operational zone adjacent to Bryansk Front. So no, my perspective has not changed.
Again, you absolutely need to include most of Bryansk Front in the balance of forces calculation for Fall Blau.

Here are Bryansk Front's dispositions at the beginning of Fall Blau, from north to south. Bolded are units facing Heeresgruppe Süd:

3rd Army: 287-283-269-137 rifle divisions in the line / 60-240 rifle divisions, 104-134 rifle brigades, 79-150 tank brigades in army reserve

48th Army: 118 rifle brigade, 211-6 guards-280 rifle divisions in the line / 8 rifle division, 55 cavalry division, 122 rifle brigade, 80-202 tank brigades in army reserve

13th Army: 132-148-15-143 rifle divisions in the line / 307 rifle division, 109 rifle brigade, 129 tank brigade in army reserve

40th Army: 121-160-212-45-62 rifle divisions in the line / 6 rifle division, 111-119-141 rifle brigades, 14-170 tank brigades in army reserve

Furthermore, in the first days of the offensive, 3rd and 48th Army transferred most of their army reserves to check the German offensive. 3rd Army sent 240 rifle division, as well as 104-134 rifle brigades and 150 tank brigade. 48th Army sent 8 rifle division, 55 cavalry division, 122 rifle brigade and 202 tank brigade.

Here is the balance of forces engaged in relation to total forces for Bryansk Front's four armies:

Rifle divisions: 14 out of 21 engaged
Cavalry division: 1 out of 1 engaged
Rifle brigades: 7 out of 8 engaged
Tank brigades: 5 out of 7 engaged

Now let's look at the Front reserve:
  • 8th Cavalry Corps, with 21-112 cavalry divisions, was behind 3rd Army, between Orel and Tula.
  • 5th Tank Army, with 340 rifle division, 2-11 tank corps, and 19 tank brigade, was around Yefremov.
  • 284 rifle division was en route to 48th Army, and was rerouted towards Kastornoye as the offensive began.
  • 1 guards rifle division and 1 tank corps were around Livny.
  • 4-16-17-24 tank corps were behind 40th Army, guarding the approaches to Voronezh.
  • And finally you have 7th Cavalry Corps, with 11-17-83 cavalry divisions, whose position on the eve of the offensive is unclear, but that didn't take part anyway.
8th Cavalry Corps and 5th Tank Army, 1st Guards Rifle Division and 1st Tank Corps were duly sent south in the first days of the offensive. Thus, the final tally (army + Front reserve) is:

Rifle divisions: 17 out of 24 engaged
Cavalry divisions: 3 out of 6 engaged
Tank corps: 7 out of 7 engaged
Rifle brigades: 7 out of 8 engaged
Tank brigades: 6 out of 8 engaged

That's about 75% of Bryansk Front's formations, and virtually its entire armor. You previously claimed:
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 00:51
What was the alternative? Another offensive on the Moscow axis?
That was what Stavka was expecting and where it had placed it’s reserves, that being a contributing factor to the early success of Blau.
And:
Max Payload wrote:
22 Dec 2020 17:39
I don’t understand why you included Bryansk Front in the comparison you made between the the central and southern axes. [...] Bryansk Front was relatively unaffected by Blau compared to Southwestern Direction, though it’s left flank 40th Army did bear the initial brunt of the offensive.
Bolding mine.

In view of the evidence, do you still stand by those claims?

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 27 Dec 2020 03:44

KDF33 wrote:
25 Dec 2020 00:20
Again, you absolutely need to include most of Bryansk Front in the balance of forces calculation for Fall Blau.

Here are Bryansk Front's dispositions at the beginning of Fall Blau, from north to south. Bolded are units facing Heeresgruppe Süd:

3rd Army: 287-283-269-137 rifle divisions in the line / 60-240 rifle divisions, 104-134 rifle brigades, 79-150 tank brigades in army reserve

48th Army: 118 rifle brigade, 211-6 guards-280 rifle divisions in the line / 8 rifle division, 55 cavalry division, 122 rifle brigade, 80-202 tank brigades in army reserve

13th Army: 132-148-15-143 rifle divisions in the line / 307 rifle division, 109 rifle brigade, 129 tank brigade in army reserve

40th Army: 121-160-212-45-62 rifle divisions in the line / 6 rifle division, 111-119-141 rifle brigades, 14-170 tank brigades in army reserve

Furthermore, in the first days of the offensive, 3rd and 48th Army transferred most of their army reserves to check the German offensive. 3rd Army sent 240 rifle division, as well as 104-134 rifle brigades and 150 tank brigade. 48th Army sent 8 rifle division, 55 cavalry division, 122 rifle brigade and 202 tank brigade.

Here is the balance of forces engaged in relation to total forces for Bryansk Front's four armies:

Rifle divisions: 14 out of 21 engaged
Cavalry division: 1 out of 1 engaged
Rifle brigades: 7 out of 8 engaged
Tank brigades: 5 out of 7 engaged

Now let's look at the Front reserve:
  • 8th Cavalry Corps, with 21-112 cavalry divisions, was behind 3rd Army, between Orel and Tula.
  • 5th Tank Army, with 340 rifle division, 2-11 tank corps, and 19 tank brigade, was around Yefremov.
  • 284 rifle division was en route to 48th Army, and was rerouted towards Kastornoye as the offensive began.
  • 1 guards rifle division and 1 tank corps were around Livny.
  • 4-16-17-24 tank corps were behind 40th Army, guarding the approaches to Voronezh.
  • And finally you have 7th Cavalry Corps, with 11-17-83 cavalry divisions, whose position on the eve of the offensive is unclear, but that didn't take part anyway.
8th Cavalry Corps and 5th Tank Army, 1st Guards Rifle Division and 1st Tank Corps were duly sent south in the first days of the offensive. Thus, the final tally (army + Front reserve) is:

Rifle divisions: 17 out of 24 engaged
Cavalry divisions: 3 out of 6 engaged
Tank corps: 7 out of 7 engaged
Rifle brigades: 7 out of 8 engaged
Tank brigades: 6 out of 8 engaged

That's about 75% of Bryansk Front's formations, and virtually its entire armor.
On 27 June Bryansk and Western Fronts were completing plans to attack German positions around Orel and Bolkhov in order to disrupt the anticipated offensive towards Moscow. I don’t question that most of Bryansk Front’s forces became engaged against AGS (as Voronezh Front from 7 July) but it was not a pre-planned response and
the significance is the timescale.
On the morning the offensive began 48th Army’s forces faced part of 299th ID. That was it. A static frontline that remained static involving one of (or part of one of) 48th Army’s divisions. (The same could be said of the right wing of 13th Army on the left bank of the Sosna - a largely static line along part of which 45th ID advanced just 10km in nearly four weeks.) The rest of 48th Army and the entirely of 3rd Army we’re not facing AGS at all.
After Blau commenced the reserves from 3rd Army would have to advance south 100 km to reach the Sosna, and the 4th and 24th Tank Corps would have to advance 100 km north from the Belgorod area to Kastornoye. The mechanised formations of the Front reserves “were duly sent south in the first days of the offensive”. Yefremov to Yelets is 70km and Voronezh is another 100km beyond that, and 5th Tank Army did not begin to engage Langermann’s panzers until 5 July, by which time Kempf was across the Don.
Crucially Stumme’s corps from Sixth Army attacked 21st Army on 30 June. At that point it was obvious that the German offensive was not being directed towards a Moscow.
Those were the crucial few days in which Fourth Panzer Army achieved a breakthrough and rapid advance against disorganised opposition, and when Stumme achieved a similar breakthrough towards Stary Oskol to threaten 21st Army.
Given the subsequent events I think it is self-evident that “Bryansk Front was relatively unaffected by Blau compared with Southwestern Direction”. Bryansk Front saw one of its armies effectively destroyed and saw its mechanised formations badly chewed up. Nonetheless it brought considerable and sustained pressure to bear against von Bock’s left flank. Meanwhile Southwestern and Southern Fronts were largely destroyed in prolonged disorganised retreats.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by KDF33 » 27 Dec 2020 06:35

Max Payload wrote:
27 Dec 2020 03:44
I don’t question that most of Bryansk Front’s forces became engaged against AGS (as Voronezh Front from 7 July) but it was not a pre-planned response and
the significance is the timescale.
The initial point of contention was that Stavka had concentrated its reserves on the Moscow axis, a contributing factor, in your view, to the early success of Blau.

I fail to grasp how the delays between the launch of Fall Blau and the commitment of Soviet armored formations supports that point. Soviet tank corps were widely dispersed on June 27th, and would have taken as much time to concentrate and counterattack had the offensive jumped off from, say, Orel rather than Kursk.

Indeed, if we break them down geographically there were the following groupings:
  • 7th TK was at Kalinin, was rushed south in early July, and engaged the Germans as part of 5th Tank Army on July 6th. It was actually the first formation of 5th TA to be committed.
  • Covering the approaches to Moscow, there were, from north to south: 5th TK (Kubinka), 6th TK (Maloyaroslavets), 9th TK (Kaluga). Their dispositions didn't change with the German offensive.
  • At Tula, there were 12th and 15th TK, forming 3rd Tank Army. They were sent south at the beginning of the offensive, but ultimately weren't committed.
  • Covering the "corner" at the eastern base of the Rzhev salient were, from west to east: 8th TK (Meshchovsk), 10th TK (Kozelsk), 3rd TK (Belyov). 8th TK stayed put, whereas 3rd and 10th TK attacked 2. Panzerarmee in response to the German offensive.
  • Between Orel and the Don, there were, from north to south: 11th TK (Yefremov), 2nd TK (Yelets), 1st TK (Livny). 1st TK was committed June 30th. 2nd and 11th TK were committed, along with the newly-arrived 7th TK, later in early July during 5th Tank Army's attack on the flanks of the German advance. Their offensive was staggered and disjointed, with 7th TK attacking on the 6th, 11th TK on the 8th and 2nd TK on the 10th.
  • Covering Voronezh, there were, from west to east: 16th TK (Kastornoye) and 17th TK (Voronezh). 16th TK was committed on June 29th and 17th TK on June 30th as part of Group Fedorenko, the latter along with 4th and 24th TK.
  • Covering the general area from Belgorod to Kharkov, there were, from north to south: 4th TK (Novy Oskol), 23rd TK (Valuyki), 24th TK (Urazovo), 13th TK (Degtyarnoye). 4th and 24th TK were immediately sent north on June 28th, joined Group Fedorenko along with 17th TK two days later, and were respectively committed June 30th and July 2nd, the latter in defensive fighting around Stary Oskol.
  • Finally, 22nd TK was covering Kupyansk in the area of 38th Army.
Lastly, there were 3 tank corps far from the main battlefields: 14th TK was guarding the Don south-east of Rostov, 18th TK was forming at Stalingrad, and 25th TK was widely dispersed between Tambov and Kuibyshev. Both 18th and 25th TK were committed around Voronezh, respectively on July 6th and 12th.

Blau I completely unhinged the southern edge of the Soviet defense system. By July 12th, there were just 6 uncommitted tank corps out of 22 in the entire RKKA. Had the Germans turned north instead of south, the Soviets were in no position to stop them.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Max Payload » 27 Dec 2020 11:34

KDF33 wrote:
27 Dec 2020 06:35
I fail to grasp how the delays between the launch of Fall Blau and the commitment of Soviet armored formations supports that point. Soviet tank corps were widely dispersed on June 27th, and would have taken as much time to concentrate and counterattack had the offensive jumped off from, say, Orel rather than Kursk.

Indeed, if we break them down geographically there were the following groupings:
  • 7th TK was at Kalinin, was rushed south in early July, and engaged the Germans as part of 5th Tank Army on July 6th. It was actually the first formation of 5th TA to be committed.
  • Covering the approaches to Moscow, there were, from north to south: 5th TK (Kubinka), 6th TK (Maloyaroslavets), 9th TK (Kaluga). Their dispositions didn't change with the German offensive.
  • At Tula, there were 12th and 15th TK, forming 3rd Tank Army. They were sent south at the beginning of the offensive, but ultimately weren't committed.
  • Covering the "corner" at the eastern base of the Rzhev salient were, from west to east: 8th TK (Meshchovsk), 10th TK (Kozelsk), 3rd TK (Belyov). 8th TK stayed put, whereas 3rd and 10th TK attacked 2. Panzerarmee in response to the German offensive.
  • Between Orel and the Don, there were, from north to south: 11th TK (Yefremov), 2nd TK (Yelets), 1st TK (Livny). 1st TK was committed June 30th. 2nd and 11th TK were committed, along with the newly-arrived 7th TK, later in early July during 5th Tank Army's attack on the flanks of the German advance. Their offensive was staggered and disjointed, with 7th TK attacking on the 6th, 11th TK on the 8th and 2nd TK on the 10th.
  • Covering Voronezh, there were, from west to east: 16th TK (Kastornoye) and 17th TK (Voronezh). 16th TK was committed on June 29th and 17th TK on June 30th as part of Group Fedorenko, the latter along with 4th and 24th TK.
  • Covering the general area from Belgorod to Kharkov, there were, from north to south: 4th TK (Novy Oskol), 23rd TK (Valuyki), 24th TK (Urazovo), 13th TK (Degtyarnoye). 4th and 24th TK were immediately sent north on June 28th, joined Group Fedorenko along with 17th TK two days later, and were respectively committed June 30th and July 2nd, the latter in defensive fighting around Stary Oskol.
  • Finally, 22nd TK was covering Kupyansk in the area of 38th Army.
Lastly, there were 3 tank corps far from the main battlefields: 14th TK was guarding the Don south-east of Rostov, 18th TK was forming at Stalingrad, and 25th TK was widely dispersed between Tambov and Kuibyshev. Both 18th and 25th TK were committed around Voronezh, respectively on July 6th and 12th.

Blau I completely unhinged the southern edge of the Soviet defense system. By July 12th, there were just 6 uncommitted tank corps out of 22 in the entire RKKA. Had the Germans turned north instead of south, the Soviets were in no position to stop them.
Defence against an attacking force that is doing pretty much what you had expected and prepared for is almost always more effective than an improvised response to the unexpected, and for Golikov the events of the first week of Blau were most certainly the latter. For 16th Tank Corps it was less a case of being committed to action as responding to being attacked. ‘Group Federenko’ was a spontaneous creation of Stalin’s that complicated Golikov’s command arrangements and which initially had an ad hoc operational staff with unreliable communication links. Moving north, 4th and 24th Tank Corps were not in communication with Golikov or Federenko, and seem to have basically blundered into Kempf’s right flank. Parsegov lost contact with just about everyone after his headquarters were overrun. Feklenko’s 17th Tank Corps arrived on the battlefield low on fuel, which greatly constrained its initial effectiveness. As you note, Lizyukov committed the tank army to offensive action piecemeal and to little effect.
It would be idle to speculate on what may have happened if OKH had conducted its summer offensive on the central axis, but it would have faced three expectant Fronts with 128 rifle divisions and 13 tank corps (15 if you include 16th and 17th) and backed up by five or six reserve armies in the process of forming up. (A reserve army could have redeployed from the Volkhov area to support Kalinin Front far more easily than 1st RA’s move south to Stalingrad.) During such an offensive Soviet forces would have been falling back on prepared lines of communication and supply.
None of this was true in the opening phase of Blau, and of the mechanised formations initially committed only Katukov’s corps could be said to have operated in good order and with a clear objectives.

As an aside, are you sure 18th Tank Corps was forming up in the Stalingrad area? To complete formation, redeploy 500km to the northwest and commit to action in eight days is quite a feat.

Another minor point, 3rd Tank Army wasn’t formed until 22 August.

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Re: Vulnerability of Soviet population, agriculture, and industry to German occupation

Post by Peter89 » 29 Dec 2020 16:45

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
22 Dec 2020 15:23
KDF33 wrote:
21 Dec 2020 20:39
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
21 Dec 2020 20:19
Ok.

You think complete failure on fulfills its military tasks on barbarossa on 1941.year can to mean opening to finish off the Soviets. It is kdf33 opinion.

I not think complete failure on fulfills its military tasks on barbarossa on 1941.year can to mean opening to finish off the Soviets. It is my opinion.

On real history Germany army was try for to finish off the Soviets on 1942.year. They was have complete failure again.

I agree on kdf33 final point. Failure on win Soviet union was not be on topic economic resources.
Historically the Germans certainly failed to defeat the Soviet Union. I would argue, however, that this represents historical contingency rather than determinism.
I think i was not understand exact what you was write. But i can to try for to respond.

On real history Nazi Germany was not win war on Soviet union.
On real history Nazi Germany was not be close for to win war on Soviet union.

But that not mean it was be impossible for Nazi Germany win war on Soviet union.

Real history is list on decisions and events what was happen on real life on past times. When was can change some decision can for to be different result.

Example. On imagination story Stalin was be scared person and when Nazi Germany was attack Soviet union he was decide very quick for to surrender.

On one very simple change on decision on Soviet side can for to make big change on result.

But when everything on Soviet side was stay same as was be on real history must for to be much big change on Nazi Germany side for to make change on result.

On my opinion Nazi Germany was not have capacity for to make change so big for to change result.
In this regard, TMP's timeline is correct: the Germans had to eliminate the Soviet Union by the late summer of 1942.

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