Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jan 2021 19:24

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 19:07
Meh I don't buy that kids playing war led by Nazi goons creates any real military excellence. Maybe later when it became more professionalized but German combat effectiveness didn't change much during the war. Most of the 1939-40 Heer had little to no HJ experience.

German combat effectiveness score v. West was nearly as good in WW1 as in WW2. Because WW1 combat scores showed less variance than WW2, I'd argue the WW1 Heer was just as good as WW2. It's hard to show that Nazism added anything to German military capability [aside from willingness to launch WW2 in the first place].
Agreed. The Germans developed the "Center of Excellence" before it simply became a fashionable name plastered over every half-baked school in the military. The Germans instituted excellence at all levels by encouraging initiative, problem solving skills, and critical thinking top-down and bottom-up. Dupuy's Genius for War would be a good start on the background.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 01 Jan 2021 19:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 19:07
It's hard to show that Nazism added anything to German military capability.
Other than blind (or enforced) willingness to continue fighting when it was obvious that the war was irrevocably lost? For which your comments about the absence of a "leftish" opposition seem relevant. Also the ability of the Nazi state to exploit the widespread knowledge of what exactly had been going on in the occupied territories (and especially "in the East") to argue that there was no option to surrender this time round as the losers in a total war would face annihilation. All very Wagnerian!

Regards

Tom

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 19:41

Richard Anderson wrote:Dupuy's Genius for War would be a good start on the background.
Read it last week. It's why I've been thinking/posting more about combat effectiveness and WW1 vs. WW2 lately.

I'm fairly convinced that if WW1 had been fought with WW2 technology, Germany would have won. The WW1 Heer would have been at least as good creating battles of annihilation as its successor was, they just lacked the means of mechanized maneuver.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Other than blind (or enforced) willingness to continue fighting when it was obvious that the war was irrevocably lost?
I edited the post to reflect factors like this [aside from willingness to launch WW2 in the first place].

There's some scholarly debate about whether Nazism/Hitler was a necessary condition for WW2; there's a decent argument that Germany was going to give war another go regardless of who came out of the Weimar morass. Even "liberals" like Stressman, for example, did not concede the legitimacy of Germany's Versailles boundaries.

As I've been saying to Richard, however, I'm trying to distinguish between military excellence on the battlefield and the higher-level political question of national willingness to go to war. There's no correlation between national willingness to go to war and actually being good on the battlefield. Mussolini and American chickenhawks like G.W. Bush for example...
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 01 Jan 2021 19:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 19:07
stg44 wrote:US had a larger population and one that was far less gutted by WW1, so likely just had more high quality human material as a percentage of the population without even factor in things like nutrition and educational access.
What impact would WW1 have had on quality of men? By the '43 when the Americans are fighting German soldiers, there's very few WW1 soldiers fighting except the officer class.
I'd think that would be rather obvious: the soldiers killed or maimed enough in WW1 didn't have babies, the war time birth rates were depressed, and post-war birth rates were highly repressed by the economic situation. So much of the most physically and arguably mentally fit men were not having kids, which the nazis routinely lamented for their lack of manpower by the 1940s and a big reason they pushed for higher birth rates even at the expense of conventional religious morality around relationships. War is like reverse evolution in the sense that the best young men are butchered on the battlefield and not around to have children. Look at how many college students were killed as reservists called up in 1914.

A 20 year old in 1943 would have been born in 1923 when the birth rate was 21.2 per 1000 women, which is comparable to 1915 birthrates (a large drop off from 1914 and the first year natural deaths exceeded births). And that year had a higher crude birth rate per 1000 women than in any year after that through to today.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demograph ... since_1900
The lowest birth rate was in 1917, which would have produced prime age soldiers by 1943.
stg44 wrote:Germany performance superiority that Dupuy claims was largely a function of all the paramilitary training the youth got in the Hitler youth before military training and the organizational advantages they had developed based on WW1 experience as they had been planning on a rematch since 1918, while everyone else was more focused on outlawing war and rebuilding.
Meh I don't buy that kids playing war led by Nazi goons creates any real military excellence. Maybe later when it became more professionalized but German combat effectiveness didn't change much during the war. Most of the 1939-40 Heer had little to no HJ experience.

German combat effectiveness score v. West was nearly as good in WW1 as in WW2. Because WW1 combat scores showed less variance than WW2, I'd argue the WW1 Heer was just as good as WW2. It's hard to show that Nazism added anything to German military capability.
[/quote]
It's early and more extensive basic training. They taught individual combat skills and discipline which sped up military training, as they could focus on actual unit skills and advance topics rather than waste time teaching basic skills. Combat effectiveness is rather nebulous especially when the Allies were improving every year of the war and closing the gap in organizational, equipment, and overall effectiveness. The 1939-40 Heer was less skilled than they were later on, but relative to Allied states they were much more experienced and trained by then. If you read about the Wehrmacht's own critiques of their performance in Poland and the intensive retraining program they did between Poland and France they were highly concerned that they were unprepared to fight and if not for Poland's weakness relative to Germany (and Soviet intervention) as well as being caught while still mobilizing then things wouldn't have gone nearly as well for German forces as they actually did. In terms of performance relative to the Wallies in 1940 the French and British fought pretty much as well as the Germans on the ground and if not for operational/strategic reasons as well as airpower the Germans wouldn't have done nearly as well there either.

The one area they really outperformed was in the USSR in 1941, but that was also a function of gaining a lot of individual combat experience to that point and Soviet internal problems than simply training or other improvements on the German side. I'd argue you're somewhat wrong about the Heer having little HJ trained soldiers by 1940 and certainly that wasn't true by 1941. They did have a lot of WW1 vets though, which was a big help, especially in their upper officer and NCO classes.

In WW1 vs. 2 the WAllies pretty much fought the same way and had a similar extended learning curve as well as similar replacement system with all it's issues. Plus the US put all their worst manpower in the infantry, which accounted for some issues in performance outside the elite or oldest divisions.

As to nazism not adding much to German performance I'd overall agree and argue it took away quite a bit other than crushing any anti-war sentiment. Overall I'd say that prior to gaining extensive WW2 experience the Wehrmacht was inferior to the WW1 Heer. Certainly the Wehrmacht offices unabashedly thought so in 1939 and even in 1940. By Barbarossa the experience gained and institutional improvements had probably put them on par with the WW1 Heer, but then nazism poisoned the institution even more from 1941 on and the problems began. At that point I'd argue the issue wasn't the quality of the Wehrmacht per se, but political interference especially in the diversion of quality manpower to the SS, Luftwaffe field divisions, or kept them locked up in the Navy (why after the Uboat war was lost in 1943?) or put them into nazi paramilitary orgs like Org Todt or the RAD. I'm surprised so much quality manpower was found in late 1944 for the Ardennes offensive and late war battles, but apparently so much had been diverted to the Luftwaffe, Navy, and other nazi orgs that when Hitler finally demanded it be released a lot of physically fit, high skilled mid-20s men suddenly appeared in Heer and SS units, though without much infantry training or preparedness for offensive combat. A more rational system would have used those men when it counted in units which were set up to use them rather than creating multiple parallel armies (I mean really, who thought air force armored divisions made sense???).

I'd actually be curious to see if it were possible to analyze what a difference it would have made if the Luftwaffe was limited to a single parachute division and all excess manpower was combed out of the RAD, Org Todt, and Navy to give to the regular Heer. That and not constantly making new divisions, but rather keeping the ones in the field up to strength with steady well trained infantry replacements and equipment.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 19:51

Richard Anderson wrote:The Germans developed the "Center of Excellence" before it simply became a fashionable name plastered over every half-baked school in the military. The Germans instituted excellence at all levels by encouraging initiative, problem solving skills, and critical thinking top-down and bottom-up.
This is why I increasingly see Halder as the man who lost WW2 (or saved the world, depending on perspective). He was the bearer of that tradition of excellence yet violated every intellectual principle of the General Staff in preparing Barbarossa. All the good General Staff-style studies/games that should have caused critical revisions of the Barbarossa plan were buried/ignored by Halder, who substituted a Hitlerian emphasis on the spiritual/willpower over hard analysis. He then substituted political punditry for military analysis by assuming SU would collapse if Moscow fell. I find it odd that Dupuy doesn't go hard at Halder for these mistakes in Genius.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 01 Jan 2021 20:06

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 19:51
Richard Anderson wrote:The Germans developed the "Center of Excellence" before it simply became a fashionable name plastered over every half-baked school in the military. The Germans instituted excellence at all levels by encouraging initiative, problem solving skills, and critical thinking top-down and bottom-up.
This is why I increasingly see Halder as the man who lost WW2 (or saved the world, depending on perspective). He was the bearer of that tradition of excellence yet violated every intellectual principle of the General Staff in preparing Barbarossa. All the good General Staff-style studies/games that should have caused critical revisions of the Barbarossa plan were buried/ignored by Halder, who substituted a Hitlerian emphasis on the spiritual/willpower over hard analysis. He then substituted political punditry for military analysis by assuming SU would collapse if Moscow fell. I find it odd that Dupuy doesn't go hard at Halder for these mistakes in Genius.
Probably because it was a function of Hitler's demands from his hand picked generals. The German officer corps had been culled since 1933 so much so that Halder knew that he'd be fired if he didn't placate Hitler. Plus it seems Hitler also promoted people that thought like him which meant Halder and guys like him thought the USSR would implode with defeat at the border, which rendered extensive planning relatively moot; IIRC from his war journal he pretty much thought the invasion was won by week 5 and they just needed to march on Moscow and it was over.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 20:34

stg44 wrote:Probably because it was a function of Hitler's demands from his hand picked generals.
No that won't do. Halder drafted his first outline Barbarossa plan without guidance from Hitler, wherein he estimated 80-100 divisions were adequate. While Hitler expressed misgivings about Soviet strength, Halder is nowhere on record as doing so. During the campaign Halder never revisited his analytical priors - as General Staff practice demanded. When Soviet rail movements to Smolensk were reported, for example, Halder said something like "this would usually indicate moving up reserves but the Soviets are out of reserves." Just intellectually execrable behavior.

Plus Halder very effectively pushed back against Hitler in Fall '39 over invading France that year. Other generals continued to effectively push back against Hitler even later in the war, such as Model's confrontation over 9th Army dispositions in winter '41.

Finally, Halder acted independently of Hitler throughout Barbarossa and its runup, conducting his own foreign policy aimed at bringing Hungary into the war.

In short, if Halder really had better ideas about Barbarossa he had multiple means of expressing them or enacting them without telling Hitler. He was 100% behind the fatuous short war concept - probably moreso than Hitler.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jan 2021 20:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 19:51
This is why I increasingly see Halder as the man who lost WW2 (or saved the world, depending on perspective). He was the bearer of that tradition of excellence yet violated every intellectual principle of the General Staff in preparing Barbarossa. All the good General Staff-style studies/games that should have caused critical revisions of the Barbarossa plan were buried/ignored by Halder, who substituted a Hitlerian emphasis on the spiritual/willpower over hard analysis. He then substituted political punditry for military analysis by assuming SU would collapse if Moscow fell. I find it odd that Dupuy doesn't go hard at Halder for these mistakes in Genius.
Well, in the end, the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht were subservient to their political masters, just as the DOD was in 2002 in the United States. Pretty much every professional military person, uniform and civilian, knew the Iraq adventure was a clueless mess beforehand, but ended up saluting and going ahead with orders. It is the downside of a tradition of civilian control of the military...of course, the downside of military control of civilians tends to be so much worse.

In this specific instance, Halder and OKH were between a rock and a hard place. I think many realized the pre-invasion assessment of Soviet weakness was wishful thinking, but they had no real means of opposing Hitler's decision. So they proceeded to put paint on a pig and call it a plan. Of course too, the easy victories to date had likely developed a species of "victory disease" that believed Hitler could do no wrong and that the German way of war had become invincible. In other words, they put aside those traditions of excellence that had been so painfully developed since 1807 and soldiered on. I ma not too sure that anyone else other than Halder would have acted any different, so putting the blame on him for losing the war may be a bit harsh...I think Hitler, Göring, Jodl, Raeder, and numerous others share in the blame.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 20:49

Richard Anderson wrote:the blame on [Halder] for losing the war may be a bit harsh...I think Hitler, Göring, Jodl, Raeder, and numerous others share in the blame.
Yeah there's plenty of blame to go around. Nonetheless Halder's behavior is the most anomalously bad. It's the nature of political leaders to have bad military ideas, an original purpose of the General Staff was to ensure that good military analysis at least had a hearing at court. Halder did the opposite, taking leadership's bad military ideas and making them worse. Just for example, Hitler seems to have expected Army production be maintained at a high level until Russia was actually beaten while Halder had no objection to cutting it at the beginning of Barbarossa. Hitler expressed concern about the power of Russian armor; Halder did nothing to investigate or address this. It's impossible to imagine a Scharnhorst, Moltke, or Seekt behaving like this.
Richard Anderson wrote:Pretty much every professional military person, uniform and civilian, knew the Iraq adventure was a clueless mess beforehand, but ended up saluting and going ahead with orders.
I see zero credible evidence that Halder harbored any doubts about the invasion. I'm sure he lied his &ss off after the war when playing the sober military man for the U.S. army.
stg44 wrote:Hitler also promoted people that thought like him
There may be something to this re Halder. Hitler was a good reader of men and probably perceived in Halder's character that flaw that enabled him to behave like an intellectually bankrupt Nazi later on. Of course Hitler read the flaw as a virtue.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 01 Jan 2021 22:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 20:34
stg44 wrote:Probably because it was a function of Hitler's demands from his hand picked generals.
No that won't do. Halder drafted his first outline Barbarossa plan without guidance from Hitler, wherein he estimated 80-100 divisions were adequate. While Hitler expressed misgivings about Soviet strength, Halder is nowhere on record as doing so. During the campaign Halder never revisited his analytical priors - as General Staff practice demanded. When Soviet rail movements to Smolensk were reported, for example, Halder said something like "this would usually indicate moving up reserves but the Soviets are out of reserves." Just intellectually execrable behavior.

Plus Halder very effectively pushed back against Hitler in Fall '39 over invading France that year. Other generals continued to effectively push back against Hitler even later in the war, such as Model's confrontation over 9th Army dispositions in winter '41.

Finally, Halder acted independently of Hitler throughout Barbarossa and its runup, conducting his own foreign policy aimed at bringing Hungary into the war.

In short, if Halder really had better ideas about Barbarossa he had multiple means of expressing them or enacting them without telling Hitler. He was 100% behind the fatuous short war concept - probably moreso than Hitler.
Halder didn't draft the first plan, as you know given your handle, so was likely influenced by some of it's assumptions and Hitler's input.

Also Richard is totally right in his last post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Hal ... viet_Union
In August 1940 Halder began planning Operation Barbarossa, the anticipated invasion of the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter, to curtail Halder's military command power, Hitler limited his involvement in the war by restricting him to developing operational plans only for the Eastern Front.[12] Halder's first major fault in the planning was that he did not prepare the German military leadership for the grave hazards of war in the East.[13] He ignored the strengths of the Soviet state and paid no attention to its vast manpower reserves, the mobilisation of the wartime economy or the administration led by Joseph Stalin.[14] His second major fault was that he accepted Hitler's plan for the attack without openly disagreeing with it or arguing for his own alternative.[15] Nicolaus von Below, who observed the meetings, described Halder's alarm with the strategy but said he made no protest.[15] Halder did not believe in Hitler's plan; he preferred his own. Thereafter he undermined and sabotaged it resulting in disjointed leadership from the very start of the campaign.[13]
The only reason I bothered to post a wiki quote is because this one is well sourced and largely is the same as I've found in other sources, namely Stahel, which is the source for much of the citations above.

Halder was also infected with victory disease from the quick defeat of France and the performance of the USSR in the Winter War and East Poland, which confirmed a number of thoughts about the impact of the Great Purge. Let's not forget too that Germany was also pretty aware that the Soviets were expanding, modernizing, and reorganizing the Red Army at this time and knew they were not ready to fight.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 20:49
stg44 wrote:Hitler also promoted people that thought like him
There may be something to this re Halder. Hitler was a good reader of men and probably perceived in Halder's character that flaw that enabled him to behave like an intellectually bankrupt Nazi later on. Of course Hitler read the flaw as a virtue.
Agreed.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jan 2021 23:15

It appears 22 July 1940 was the start of Halder's planning, based upon directions from Hitler to begin contingency planning. His off the cuff estimate was the requirement was 80-100 divisions, based upon Halder's assumption that the Soviets had "50-75 good divisions". However, he also noted that he needed to check with FHO...

On 31 July 1940, at the Berghof, Hitler opines that 120 divisions were necessary for the East...

Marcks first presentation of his study was 5 August 1940...

The fecal matter impacted the rotary air mover on 4 April 1941, when FHO admitted the strength of the Soviet Army in European Russia was greater than previously estimated, 171 infantry divisions, 36 cavalry divisions, and 40 "motor-mechanized" brigades, plus one armored corps of 3 divisions...oops!
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 23:20

stg44 wrote:Halder didn't draft the first plan, as you know given your handle, so was likely influenced by some of it's assumptions and Hitler's input.
Yeah I was using "plan" loosely - I meant first 'estimate' or 'concept' or whatever. Richard has described the events I was recalling below (thanks).

I really don't care what FHO told him, Halder should have known better than to think 80 divisions could conquer Russia. Halder was responsible for FHO after all, if they were giving him obvious garbage it was his fault for not addressing it (as he did later by firing Kinzel).
stg44 wrote:[14] His second major fault was that he accepted Hitler's plan for the attack without openly disagreeing with it or arguing for his own alternative.[15] Nicolaus von Below, who observed the meetings, described Halder's alarm with the strategy but said he made no protest.[15]
Either you or (more likely) the WIki author do not understand the nature of Halder's "alarm with the strategy" on the specific date discussed. It wasn't about whether to invade the SU or whether to assume a short war - Halder was alarmed about Hitler's intent to divert forces to AGS. Here's the actual Stahel text at pg 146 of his Barbarossa book:
According to Hitler’s Luftwaffe adjutant, Nicolaus von Below, who
observed the proceedings, in the afternoon Hitler held further talks with
the commanders of Army Group South, in which he emphasised the
immense size of the theatre in which they would be operating. Hitler then
drew attention to the mass of Soviet troops stationed before Army Group
Centre and stated that, once these had been defeated, Army Group
South would be reinforced from Army Group Centre. Hitler’s address
was watched by both Halder and Brauchitsch, who must have viewed
with some alarm the idea that Hitler was now proposing to send forces
to the south as well as north towards Leningrad. Still, as Below noted,
neither raised a word of protest.39
So the disagreement is purely about means, not ends.

Furthermore, although Halder did not protest the southward diversion at the time, he protested it vehemently later and did everything he could to undermine the move.

So once again, had Halder actually opposed the "short war" plan, he could have done things to undermine it or, at the precipice, spoke out against it. He did nothing of the kind. He supported the "short war" concept much more than Hitler, who at least valued economic objectives only relevant to somewhat longer war and who at least wanted army production maintained until Russia was beaten.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 23:39

stg44 wrote:Halder didn't draft the first plan, as you know given your handle, so was likely influenced by some of it's assumptions and Hitler's input.
This is exactly backwards. Halder wasn't influenced by the Marcks plan, he largely framed its fundamentals.

From GSWW v.4:
Marcks arrived in Fontainebleau on 29 July and was at once briefed by
Haider on the now more comprehensive tasks ahead. In agreement with the
head of the general staff’ s operations department, Marcks initially regarded
the creation of a point of main effort on the southern sector of the front—the
operational group Kiev—as the most obvious solution. Haider, on the other
hand, believed that the basis indispensable for that plan, Romania, was
politically rather uncertain, and that the existence of the river barriers of Dnestr
and Dnieper argued in favour o f a shift o f the point of main effort of the attack.
His decisive argument, however, was his belief that the capture of Moscow
would mean the end of the campaign
and that, in consequence, the shortest
approach to Moscow should be chosen.89 Jin accordance with Haider’s preliminary considerations,
as well as with Hitler’ s directives of 3 1 July, Marcks
therefore prepared a draft for the conduct of operations with the main effort
concentrated on the central sector, the principal objective being the capture of
Moscow by way of the ‘Iand-bridge’ of Smolensk.
So right from the start of planning Halder centered political punditry - Moscow's fall means SU disappears - over hard military analysis. His operations staff disagreed and wanted to focus on the south. In July '40 this wasn't possible because Romania wasn't on board yet but did Halder reconsider his fatuous concept of Barbarossa once Romania joined? No, of course not. He was determined to be the worst general of the war and wouldn't be shaken from that prize.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jan 2021 23:50

TheMarcksPlan wrote:Halder wasn't influenced by the Marcks plan, he largely framed its fundamentals.
It's revealing to compare the slipshod analysis contained in the Marcks Plan to the farsighted, supple strategic mind that created it. Once Marcks was free of Halder's framing for the plan, he had the opportunity to reflect further and issued some warnings that belie his plan's shallow certainty. From GSWW v.4:
Approximately four weeks after submitting his Operations Outline he sent a
memorandum to Lieutenant-General von Tippelskirch, senior quartermaster
IV, which attempted to predict the conduct of the war and of operations by an
enemy coalition, or just by the Soviet Union, as a reaction to a German
attack.'03 This ‘Evaluation of Situation Red’, dated ю September 1940, went
to an officer who was a close personal friend; Marcks was presumably hoping
that he would either give him a reliable answer or else pass his paper on to the
chief of the Army General Staff.
Marcks assumed that the intended short campaign against the Soviet Union
would instantly give rise to an enemy coalition, in due course to be joined by
the United States, which was in any case already involved economically.
Turkey would follow suit, thus realizing an ‘ old English war plan’, a blockade
designed to exhaust German-Italian military resources. Thai was a precondition for going over to the offensive. In its initial phase the strategy demanded
total strangulation by sea; this, in Marcks’s view, was guaranteed. Just as in his
Operations Outline, Marcks proceeded from the assumption that, during the
first phase of the war, the ‘ Red side’ could rely on German transports across
the Baltic being paralysed by Russian and British forces; in consequence, the
need for the Russians to attack Sweden with a view to cutting off Swedish ore
supplies to Germany would be eliminated. An Allied attack on Romania might
be a possibility, provided it could be fitted into the framework of the Red
Army’s overall operations. Marcks expected air raids on the western half of
Germany— the British, he believed, would be capable of such attacks in the
winter of 1941-2—and these would be supplemented by Soviet air attacks on
the eastern pan of the Reich. The enemy coalition would probably assume
that a German invasion of Britain had been postponed and that the Soviet
Union would be attacked first. The Soviet Union would have to bear that
attack until such time as a general offensive could be launched simultaneously
by the Red Army in the east and by a broadly planned landing of BritishAmerican
troops in the west. In the event of a speedy exhaustion of the
German forces in the east, süch an offensive was possible in the course of 1941,
but it was more probable in 1942. The task of the Red Army, therefore, would
be to stand up to the German attack while preparing its own offensive. For
that the armaments centres around Leningrad and Moscow, control of the
naval bases in the Baltic, and holding on to the raw-material bases in the
Ukraine were the prerequisites.
The crucial question in Marcks’ s operational reflections was how the Red
Army command could ensure the protection of these vital regions while
simultaneously pulling out major forces for the encirclement and annihilation
of the German army. In order to achieve this, the Red Army would have to use
its mobile units, taking advantage of the difficult terrain in the sector of the
main German attack against Moscow, to fight a delaying action. If the Red
Army were to engage only in rearguard action, the German armies would
advance too fast. If it engaged major forces well forward, it would be running
the risk of premature defeat. The German attack would have to be finally
halted at a prepared position, such as along the general line Riga-PolotskBerezina-Pripet-Dnieper down to its estuary, to ensure that the bases for a
counter-offensive were defended and the bulk of Soviet forces preserved. In
the event of a further retreat the Red Army would risk being tom asunder. It
was incapable of set battles by separate groups and would have to be pulled
back to the Volga. In that case it would become dependent on the industrial
centres in Siberia and the Urals, as well as on American supplies. These could
be cut off by Japan, though Marcks did not expect Japan to enter the war on
the German side. Crucial for the German conduct of the war, in Marcks’s
opinion, was the conquest of the Ukraine and control over communications in
the Baltic. After that, there was no need to fear a blockade; the principal
prerequisite of victory for the ‘Red coalition’ would have disappeared.
Here Marcks is already foreseeing a course in which the SU seeks merely to survive and await salvation by its coalition members. He was, in other words, entirely aware that the quick victory assumed by his plan should not have been assumed. Marcks was not as dumb as his plan makes him look - it was the stupidity of Halder's concept that forced his hand in the eponymous plan.

We shouldn't be surprised by this: German General Staff officers like Marcks were seriously intelligent men trained to scrutinize their own reasoning with remorseless rigor.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Richard Anderson
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jan 2021 23:56

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jan 2021 23:20
Yeah I was using "plan" loosely - I meant first 'estimate' or 'concept' or whatever. Richard has described the events I was recalling below (thanks).
You're welcome.
I really don't care what FHO told him, Halder should have known better than to think 80 divisions could conquer Russia. Halder was responsible for FHO after all, if they were giving him obvious garbage it was his fault for not addressing it (as he did later by firing Kinzel).
That is unfair. Halder's first estimate was based upon his assumption that the Soviets had 50-75 good divisions in the west. So he was positing the necessity for about a 3-to-2 ratio. It remains unspoken, but I suspect that the FHO estimate of about 220 divisions in early April was something of a shock. Based on that he likely realized that the Germans really needed closer to 300 divisions, but by that time they were committed. In for a penny...and all that.
Either you or (more likely) the WIki author do not understand the nature of Halder's "alarm with the strategy" on the specific date discussed. It wasn't about whether to invade the SU or whether to assume a short war - Halder was alarmed about Hitler's intent to divert forces to AGS.
Indeed, since Halder's concept was more or less a holding action along the southern front with the main axis Leningrad and Moscow via beefed up HG-N and HG-M, which would then reorient south once their mission was accomplished. In essence a strategic single envelopment, which probably would have been more workable than the final plan.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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