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The Soviet offensive 1943

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  • #16
    Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
    What does the fuel oil reserve situation look like? I would think that two extra years of Russian shipments minus obscene uses in Africa and greater than OTL allotments given to the RM should leave the reich with similar to fewer reserves than OTL, am I right?
    If Stalin is planning to stab Hitelr in the back I wouldn't assume that shipments of things like fuel in particular remain as high for 2 more years.
    Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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    • #17
      Originally posted by smallvillekalel View Post
      What does the fuel oil reserve situation look like? I would think that two extra years of Russian shipments minus obscene uses in Africa and greater than OTL allotments given to the RM should leave the reich with similar to fewer reserves than OTL, am I right?
      Actually , you are wrong.
      http://www.sturmvogel.orbat.com/ussbsoil.html

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      • #18
        That didn't help.
        "In the absence of orders...find something and kill it!" Lt. General Erwin Rommel, 1942

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        • #19
          Originally posted by zraver View Post
          Possible Soviet command struture

          Stavka

          Ioseph Stalin, Stavka, Generalissimo
          Seymon Timoshenko, Stavka, Defense Commissar)
          Boris Shaposhnikov, Stavka, chief of staff
          Kliment Voroshilov, Stavka, at large
          Lazar Kaganovich, Stavka (rail roads)
          Leonoid Beria, Stavka (intelligence)

          Poland


          Georgy Zuhkov, commanding

          Tank army commanders-

          Ivan Konev, Center
          Nikolai Vatutin, Center
          Aleksandr Vasilevsky, North
          Andre Yeryomenko South

          Infantry commanders-

          Rodion Malinovsky, break in, Center
          Fyodor Tolbukhin, break in, North
          Kirill Meretskov, break in, South
          Leonoid Govorov, Reserve/ mopping up

          South (incomplete)

          Seymon Budyonny commanding

          Tank commanders-
          Fyodor Kuznetsov
          Shestapolov
          Kurkin

          Infantry commanders-
          Andrei Zhdanov
          some ideas for south comanders :

          Andrei Vlasov : until his defection to the germans was considered a top soviet commander, he comanded the most powerful mech. corps at
          the start of Barbarossa , the 4th.

          Khatskilevich: western front, comander of the 6th mech corps , strong armor formation in 1941 , KIA.

          Leliushenko: commander of the 21st mechanised corps , later 1st /3rd guards army, 4th tank army.

          Pavel Belov , cavalry commander in 1941 1942, 2nd cavalry corps later renamed 1st guards cavalry corps.

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          • #20
            The scenario

            Chapter 1 Germany

            JUne 1940, the string of German victories comes to a crashing halt with the destruction of the BEF around Dunkirk France. In Southern England, during the month of September, the Germans would taste defeat. Hitler, unwilling to listen to his military commanders, and also believing Goering's claim that the RAF was finished, ordered the commencement of Sea Lion. He did this on the belief presented by the chief of the Luftwaffe that even though the RAF was not totally out of the fight, it was now too weak to stop an invasion or protect the Royal Navy. Further he claimed that even if the Royal navy did make show up to fight, the destruction of the BEF meant England was undefended. As history shows the fat ex-pilot was wrong. 70 named warships and almost 200 smaller craft were pressing into the channel within 36 hours and from that point not a single German transport landed.

            On the ground English territorials, hastily raised conscripts and allied troops from Canada and new Zealand backed by Maltilda II limited German gains to the area around Dover, though Dover itself was never completely taken before the German surrender. Nor was the RAF out of the fight, once the Germans were ashore the RAF committed a fresh fighter group and dozens of bombers to the fight. The result was both massive Luftwaffe losses, and the virtual destruction of the Ju-52 fleet.

            By the end of September the Germans had lost 6 divisions worth of men, 10 divisions worth of equipment, 1200 more air crews, 1300+ aircraft, 4000 small craft, 37 transports, 9 destroyers, 2 cruisers and 15 torpedo boats. The loss of barges had forced vital river commerce to a virtual standstill and severely disrupted the German economy. Virtually obliterated were the navy and the Luftwaffe which had less than a thousand serviceable combat planes left when Heinz Guderian surrendered.

            The defeat strangely coincided to a sudden Soviet upswing in the supply of needed raw materials. As one general officer said, Stalin is going to fight England to the last German. The defeat also left Hitler feeling vulnerable, as least temporarily, never one to enjoy being down, he made Goering pay the price-pushing the Luftwaffe chief was out and stripped him of his titles, awards and privileges in what was widely considered a show trial.

            Regardless the defeat left him and Germany weak enough that he was open to listening to a rare united front by the Luftwaffe, Heer and industry. As a result of the meeting he agreed to curtail future plans until the German economy and military had recovered to at least 1939 levels. However, he refused to put the economy on a war time footing. Unwilling to risk another stab in the back like Germany suffered in November 1918 he kept much of the economy devoted to civilian uses.

            This meant that industry and the Luftwaffe got the bulk of scarce resources and several HEER divisions were either demobilized or moved to reserve status. Though as a sop, the number of motorized divisions the Heer would have was to increased by five plus 2 more panzer divisions. To speed in the rebuilding, several divisions were demobilized and reduced to cadre status and a number of French tanks were inducted into the army under ersatz designations.

            As it turns out, the failure of Italy in North Africa and Greece meant the army did not get much of a break, as a result it could either expand, or improve quality. The army chose numbers over quality at least for short term planning, never dreaming events would outpace them. Still much of the resources for expansion were used up in the Balkans and the sinking of two panzer divisions worth of equipment on their way to Libya. Yet as effective as British submarines were, the army felt revitalized and was willing to aid the Italians in Greece and then Africa.

            After sezing Greece and Yugoslavia the Germans looked south. First Crete, then Malta fell to the fallshrim divisions. Though by the end the Luftwaffe's rebuilt transport fleet was nearly wiped out again and the parachute units would need at least 2 years to rebuild. Nevertheless the assaults opened the road to Africa for the arrival of the DAK, which was rapidly increased to a full panzer armee. In a hard fought campaign, Rommel would enter Cairo on April 5th 1942. One reason the fighting took over a year is a huge amount of supplies shipped to England by the United States.

            Then Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor. With little hope of an immediate return to Europe with the loss of North Africa and Egypt, allied leaders changed course and decided on a Japan first strategy to save Singapore and the Philippines, but this meant the British had to hold Gibraltar and the Suez. This was something they could only attempt to do with the US' prodigious production, or as it turns out a lack of German action.

            The result while still an eventual allied defeat, was one gained by Germany only at great cost. US tanks like the M3 Stuart and M3 Grant and planes like the P-40 Warhawk had flooded in, more than enough to make Germany bleed. Yet, with no other distractions, the German's were closer and could more easily support Rommel. At the cost of the trucks promised to the army to add five motorized divisions Rommel was able to keep his divisions supplied and secure Africa.

            The fighting also slowed the recovery of the Luftwaffe. Also hampering the Luftwaffe's recovery was the diversion of assets into a night fighter operation to combat increasing British heavy bomber raids thorugh the night time skies of the Reich. These raids also diverted a large number of 88mm anti-tank guns. As did submarine production. Both of which limited the steel devoted to the Army. Also leeching production away from the army was the SS. Even so, Rommel won and secured Egypt.

            With the situation in North Africa resolved, Hitler decided to avoid crossing into Palestine, In a public speech at the Sportspalast in May, 42 Hitler said, "what need do we have of a land infested with Jews? Better we arm the the Arabs and let them take of it." Privately, he was worried that further adventures to the South would delay his attack into Russia. Oil was also not a problem with the Soviets deliverign some 900,00 tins a year which when combined with German and Romanian sources was more than enough to fuel his dreams of conquest. With a semi peace on the ground OKH said they could be ready to invade Russia by July 1943 depending on the rains. The German divisions demobilized in 1940 began to be secretly called back and reformed.

            Then in November 1942 the Allies struck back, a British operation along the Suez and a joint Anglo-American landing in French North Africa caught the Germans by surprise. The Abwher had assured OKW/OKH that the Americans were too busy with Japan to attack Germany. The surprise invasion and offensive required Germany to redeploy a number of units as the allied offensives gained strength. Also pressuring the Germans were increasing allied bomber activity which now included American daylight raids over occupied Europe as well as persistent reports the allies were planning a spring invasion of Norway. The result was to keep Germany focused West not East.

            Chapter 2 USSR

            Even though most of the German army had been moved east, many of the best equipped and most capable units were in Africa or Norway and this created an opportunity for Stalin. As much as Hitler wanted to go East, Stalin expected to go West. Yet the Red Army had been gutted by the purges and performance in Finland had been embarrassing. Compared with German victories through 1940 the Soviet high command realized it needed to rebuild not just its technical but human bases. as a result Stalin's next move after splitting Poland with Hitler, and occupying the Baltic and parts of the Balkans was revenge on Finland. In what has been called the Continuation War, Soviet troops re-invaded Finland in June 1941 to test out how well the re-birth of the Red Army had gone. With nearly unlimited resources the Red Army had forced Finland to submit by July 1942. Yet performance was poor, the effects of the purge and aging equipment were still very evident.

            The poor performance almost re-ignited the purges. However, Stalin was given a united front presented by Timoshenko, Budyonny and Zhukov. They argued successfully, that performance while poor was better than previously, as new officers learned their roles. They also pointed out that much of the new equipment coming on line had not been used and this led to higher losses, while largely preserving the secrecy of new items like the T-34 and Sturmovick.

            In fact the Germans had learned of the KV-2 but mistakenly thought it a Russian version of the Char-2B concept that had failed to stop the panzer divisions in 1940. The Soviet generals argued that by the beginning of 1943 the Red Army and Red Air force would be largely re-equipped and ready to face the Germans if they betrayed the Soviet Union. Of course everyone knew this was code speak for when Stalin marched West.

            Chapter 3, Opening Moves

            With the arrival of 1943 the German army was worried. Wastage in combat since France had limited the expansion of the army and had prevented almost half the panzer divisions from getting modern tanks. Many were still equipped with old tanks like the Pz38, 37mm armed Pz III or captured French tanks. This had only begun to change with the arrival of the M4 Sherman in combat. The American tank armed with a 75mm duel purpose gun had proven superior to the pzIIIL the newest version of the German battle tank. New AFV's like the Stug IIIG and Pz IVG were being rushed into service, but the numbers were low and German production continued to lag.

            Signals intercepts, deserters and other sources also began to indicate that the Soviet Union was preparing to invade. When given notice of these concerns Hitler at first not believing them [not taking the threat seriously], and who had been made stronger by the failure of the army in Africa, had made the army promise not to retreat out of Poland. He still expected to the attack the USSR in June.

            It was not until the end of April when the evidence finally convinced Hitler that he had waited too long, Stalin was going to be the one attacking. Following quick on the heels of his acceptance of this fact was the impending loss of Tunisia and with it the risk of an invasion of Sicily in the near future. Luckily the short distance to Scicly and by scrambling every passenger air craft allowed the Axis to begin evacuating troops. Several German and Italian divisions would be lost, plus several more divisions worth of equipment, but the bulk of the Axis troops in Africa were evacuated during several night operations.

            The fall of Tunisia in May and the looming battle to defend Sicily and impending Russian invasion finally convinced Germany to go to a war time footing. This meant Hitler was finally ready to put Germany's industries on a war time footing. Forcing Hitler to put Germany on a war time footing would be the last political concession the army would get out of Hitler. The series of defeats had weakened them and as much as they dreaded it, they began gearing up for the war against Russia code named Operation Barbarossa. The expected target date was June 1943 after the soil had dried from the spring rains.

            Chapter 4 First Shots

            June 22, 1943, beginning at 4 AM, ten thousand guns began pounding the forward German lines. At the same time German radar sites began to see swarms of Soviet aircraft winging their way West. Behind them came the advance of the Western, 1st and 2nd Baltic Military fronts' rifle divisions. 40 rifle divisions were tasked with opening holes for the 15 mechanized corps numbering 30 tank, 15 mechanized and 6 cavalry divisions. Supporting the initial infantry assault was an air drop of 6 parachute divisions. Behind the tanks came the infantry tasked with mopping up the encircled German troops which added another 36 rifle divisions. All told the lead echelon and immediate follow on forces numbered 133 divisions.

            The Soviet forces attacked along three main axis of advance. In the north an offensive by the 1st Baltic Front was aimed at Konigsbeg and East Prussia, in the South towards Slovenia the 2nd Baltic Front aimed to cut Germany off from her Axis partners, while the main effort aimed at Warsaw and points west in the Center was handled by the Western Front. The goals were too effect the encirclement of the German army, especially the panzer divisions and a rapidly cross the Vistula with the further goal of obtaining beachheads across the Oder river on the outskirts of Berlin.

            In the South the Romania and Hungary were going to be hit be the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian and 1st Moldovan Fronts with a combined force of 93 divisions. Once a break though was achieved the Operational Maneuver Groups totaling 8 tank divisions, 5 mechanized divisions, 3 cavalry divisions, would be turned loose. The initial assault was to be made by 8 mountain and 45 rifle divisions divisions supported by an air drop of 9 parachute divisions. The mopping up operations would be handled by 15 rifle divisions. In total the Soviet offensive totaled 229 divisions and Stavka reserves added another 64 divisions for a gr and total of 295 Soviet divisions.

            Against the force pushing into Poland the Germans have 69 divisions, the rest being in the Balkans, Norway, France or Italy. All German infantry divisions have a full complement of pz-IV or stug III shorts and most AT guns have been upgraded to the 5cm pak 38. However, half the panzer divisions are equipped with tanks made before 1941, some still mount the 3.7cm gun. The more modern tanks having gone to Africa and now Sicily.

            Overall command of Army Group Poland is entrusted to Field Marshal Von Kluge who has adopted a version of the German trip wire defense. His front line is held thicker than he would like thanks to Hitler's orders but he has been able to secure the agreement of Berlin to release to him a number of divisions from the OKH reserve to strengthen his ability to counter attack. Likewise the closeness of the front to Berlin and the danger it poses convinced Hitler to re-assign the Luftwaffe to the Polish front once the Soviet attacked occurred.

            Now that the guns are firing...

            Updated OOB and commanders list

            Soviet

            Stavka (reserve- 64 divisions: 16 tank, 8 mechanized, 5 cavalry 40 rifle)

            Ioseph Stalin, Stavka, Generalissimo
            Seymon Timoshenko, Stavka, Defense Commissar)
            Boris Shaposhnikov, Stavka, chief of staff
            Kliment Voroshilov, Stavka, at large
            Lazar Kaganovich, Stavka (rail roads)
            Leonoid Beria, Stavka (intelligence)

            Poland- 113 divisions: 30 tank, 15 mechanized, 6 cavalry, 6 parachute, 76 rifle.

            Georgy Zuhkov, commanding

            Tank Army commanders-

            Ivan Konev, Center
            Nikolai Vatutin, Center
            Aleksandr Vasilevsky, North
            Andre Yeryomenko South

            Infantry Army commanders-

            Rodion Malinovsky, break in, Center
            Fyodor Tolbukhin, break in, North
            Kirill Meretskov, break in, South
            Leonoid Govorov, Reserve/ mopping up

            South (incomplete) 74 divisions: 8 tank, 5 mechanized, 3 cavalry, 8 mountain, 9 para, 60 rifle divisions.

            Seymon Budyonny commanding

            Army and Corps commanders-

            Fyodor Kuznetsov
            Shestapolov
            Kurkin
            Vasily Volsky
            Khatskilevich
            Andrei Zhdanov
            Pavel Belov
            Andrei Vlasov

            OOB- Forces West of the Urals
            295 divisions- 54 tank, 28 mechanized, 14 cavalry, 8 mountain, 15 parachute, 176 rifle.

            Germany

            214 total divisions 23 panzer, 12 motorized, 9 mountain, 4 parachute, 164 infantry

            Oberkommando
            Adolf Hitler- OKW commanding
            Wilhelm Keitel- OKW CoS
            Fedor von Bock- OHK commanding
            Alfred Jodl- OKH CoS
            Karl Donitz- OKM commanding
            Hans Georg von Friedeburg OKM CoS
            Albert Kesselring- OKL commanding
            Hans Jurgen-Stumpf OKL CoS
            Heinrich Himmler- SS commanding

            OKH reserves 2 panzer, 1 motorized, 1 mountain, 26 infantry divisions

            Army Group Poland

            Von Kluge commanding
            4th army : G. Heinrici
            9th army : W. Model
            16th army : E. Busch.
            18th army : Manstein

            AGP OOB- 10 panzer, 9 motorized, 1 mountain, 41 infantry divisions

            Army Group South

            Von Rundstedt commanding

            AGS OOB (includes other Axis forces)- 6 panzer, 2 motorized, 1 cavalry, 3 mountain, 51 infantry divisions

            Army Group West

            Von Witzleben commanding

            AGW OOB 1 panzer, 32 infantry divisions

            Army Group Norway

            Von Falkenhorst commanding

            AGN OOB 8 infantry 2 mountain divisions

            Army Group Italy

            Erwin Rommel Commanding

            AGI OOB 3 panzer, 8 infantry, 2 mountain divisions


            Other Axis Forces- East

            Divisions- 1 tank 9 cavalry 4 mountain, 55 infantry divisions

            Slovakia
            Francis Catlos
            2 infantry divisions

            Hungary

            F.Szombathelyi
            2 tank, 1 mountain 27 infantry divisions

            Romania

            Gen.d.Armata (Rum.) Ion Antonescu
            9 cavalry, 5 mountain, 23 infantry divisions

            Croatia

            Co unknown
            3 infantry divisions

            Other Axis outside the East


            Italy

            Benito Mussolini
            Commando Supremo
            V. Ambrosio 2nd army commanding
            R Graziani 5th army commanding
            U. Cavallero 9th army commanding
            G. Messe 11th army commanding

            OOB- 43 divisions: 3 armored, 6 motorized, 10 mountain, 1 parachute 2 cavalry 21 infantry

            Croatia


            5 infantry divisions


            Note- Bulgaria was never at war with the USSR and is a natural Soviet ally once it is safe to do s
            Last edited by zraver; 22 Jun 12, 10:29.

            Comment


            • #21
              Wanted to add that Romania until 1942 did not have mountain divisions or cavalry divisions,
              empasis in the prewar years was on quality not quantity, arguably they were
              best romanian units in ww2.

              the mountain brigades were in fact close to being divisions ( 12,000 to 14,000 men) compared to 14,100 in a german or soviet mountain division .

              the cavalry brigades were realy brigades and their later divisional designation came with no increase in manpower (7000 to 8000 men ). Soviet cavalry divisions were also around 7000 men.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by 1st cavalry View Post
                Wanted to add that Romania until 1942 did not have mountain divisions or cavalry divisions,
                empasis in the prewar years was on quality not quantity, arguably they were
                best romanian units in ww2.

                the mountain brigades were in fact close to being divisions ( 12,000 to 14,000 men) compared to 14,100 in a german or soviet mountain division .

                the cavalry brigades were realy brigades and their later divisional designation came with no increase in manpower (7000 to 8000 men ). Soviet cavalry divisions were also around 7000 men.
                OK I need to adjust for that then. I also need more info on Hungary, their force size seems small. I reduced the overall Soviet force by limiting it to what was on hand in June 41, but the Soviets had several more mechanized corps planned by 42.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Adjusted, this would make an awesome game, I might write it out as well.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by zraver View Post
                    OK I need to adjust for that then. I also need more info on Hungary, their force size seems small. I reduced the overall Soviet force by limiting it to what was on hand in June 41, but the Soviets had several more mechanized corps planned by 42.
                    romania
                    http://worldwar2.ro/organizare/
                    http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=217

                    hungary afaik had 27 light infantry divisions (2 regiment type) .

                    http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=4161
                    http://www.feldgrau.com/a-hungary.html
                    Last edited by 1st cavalry; 22 Jun 12, 05:45.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by zraver View Post

                      In the South the Romania and Hungary were going to be hit be the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian and 1st Moldovan Fronts with a combined force of 93 divisions. Once a break though was achieved the Operational Maneuver Groups totaling 8 tank divisions, 5 mechanized divisions, 3 cavalry divisions, would be turned loose. The initial assault was to be made by 8 mountain and 45 rifle divisions divisions supported by an air drop of 9 parachute divisions. The mopping up operations would be handled by 15 rifle divisions. In total the Soviet offensive totaled 229 divisions and Stavka reserves added another 64 divisions for a gr and total of 295 Soviet divisions.
                      In 1941 the german 11th army was on Romania , is it still there in 1943 ?

                      I noticed the soviets have 9 parachute divisions, the soviets in 1941 had 5 corps of 3 brigades each and another 5 corps forming which presumably would be completed by 1943 .
                      That is about 30 brigades of 2600 men each , any more units formed ?
                      what about transport ?
                      http://www.oldwings.nl/st/li2.pdf
                      C 47 dakota /lisunov 2 production was around 1000 aircraft by mid 1943.
                      one aircraft could deliver a platoon irc.



                      :

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by 1st cavalry View Post
                        In 1941 the german 11th army was on Romania , is it still there in 1943 ?
                        i haven't gotten that deep in to the southern OOB yet.

                        I noticed the soviets have 9 parachute divisions, the soviets in 1941 had 5 corps of 3 brigades each and another 5 corps forming which presumably would be completed by 1943 .
                        That is about 30 brigades of 2600 men each , any more units formed ?
                        Going through Soviet orbat I counted a total of 15 divisions of parachute troops

                        what about transport ?
                        http://www.oldwings.nl/st/li2.pdf
                        C 47 dakota /lisunov 2 production was around 1000 aircraft by mid 1943.
                        one aircraft could deliver a platoon irc.
                        The Soviets also used old bombers in this role , its something I will look into more closely.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by zraver View Post
                          Going through Soviet orbat I counted a total of 15 divisions of parachute troops
                          Probably more, but those formed in 1942 and 1943 got little paratrooper
                          training (3 to 10 jumps ) and were used as regular infantry .
                          http://books.google.ro/books?id=Ieci...page&q&f=false

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by zraver View Post
                            i haven't gotten that deep in to the southern OOB yet.
                            Don't stress it. Make a couple of assumptions on numbers of types of units, what terrain is best for them and who is the stronger opponent (Soviet PoV).

                            One of my objections to the OP is not that the war is delayed, but that Stalin is the one to attack. Stalin was the ultimate risk-averse gambler. It had to be a sure thing before he moved - complete opposite of Hitler. The other consideration is that the Red Army will not be limited to the ~250-260 divisions you propose. There will be many more, hidden deep in the USSR. And the OKW has no idea about them. There may even be some new tech on the Soviet side - they were always testing and developing new ideas.

                            Going through Soviet orbat I counted a total of 15 divisions of parachute troops
                            Ist cavalry's point is valid. The prewar Soviet paratroopers were well trained, and most of those post Barbarossa not so. However, without the disruption caused by Barbarossa, they may well be up to scratch.

                            [/Quote]The Soviets also used old bombers in this role , its something I will look into more closely.[/QUOTE]

                            The old TB-3, if memory serves. But by 1943 it would have been retired except for training purposes. Even at Nomonhan/Khalkin Gol it was vulnerable to fighters.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                              Don't stress it. Make a couple of assumptions on numbers of types of units, what terrain is best for them and who is the stronger opponent (Soviet PoV).

                              One of my objections to the OP is not that the war is delayed, but that Stalin is the one to attack. Stalin was the ultimate risk-averse gambler. It had to be a sure thing before he moved - complete opposite of Hitler. The other consideration is that the Red Army will not be limited to the ~250-260 divisions you propose. There will be many more, hidden deep in the USSR. And the OKW has no idea about them. There may even be some new tech on the Soviet side - they were always testing and developing new ideas.
                              I've already boosted the Soviet to just shy of 300 divisions which is about as much as they can realistically support in peace time. The biggest advantage with be better kit.

                              As for averse risk taker, He was building the Red Army as an offensive organ, so he intended to use it eventually.

                              Ist cavalry's point is valid. The prewar Soviet paratroopers were well trained, and most of those post Barbarossa not so. However, without the disruption caused by Barbarossa, they may well be up to scratch.
                              many of those were replacement divisions, not expansion divisions. I think there is an economic and human limit on the number of divisions that can be fielded in peace time.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by zraver View Post
                                I've already boosted the Soviet to just shy of 300 divisions which is about as much as they can realistically support in peace time. The biggest advantage with be better kit.
                                That sounds reasonable, assuming peacetime. However, as we have a nation about to go to war, I think it would be advisable to have the mobilisation ready to activate a further 100-200 divisions. No military wants to fight a fair fight, they much prefer overwhelming advantage.
                                As for averse risk taker, He was building the Red Army as an offensive organ, so he intended to use it eventually.
                                There has been much made of when/if the Red Army was going to launch a preventative strike against the Wehrmacht sometime in 1942. However, the USSR also faced a threat from the Japanese: the Kwantung Army was under looser control from Tokyo than it should have been and Stalin had to look East as well as West. He may have decided to beat the daylights out of the Japanese first, but that is purely theoretical.

                                many of those were replacement divisions, not expansion divisions. I think there is an economic and human limit on the number of divisions that can be fielded in peace time.
                                Certainly is, and Nazi Germany is possibly running nearer the limit than the USSR. The big questions, which neither of us have really investigated, is whether Germany has expanded its manufacturing base. Plans were laid down in 1942 iirc, when they started to suffer bad shortages during Barbarossa and later. Without the manpower pool from the conquered territories in the east, they may not be able to fully staff any new factories. Don't you just hate economics?

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