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  • "S.o.B.", Son of Barbarossa

    This post dates back to the 90's, I'm aware of some errors, I have no doubt that there are many more, but I still agree with a good chunk of it, most notably that the Germans had means already at their disposal that they failed to use, until they had lost the initiative and it was too late, and that it has a greater chance of succeeding than any Med. type strategy. I know the ‘bits” all came from sources that I own i.e. nothing gleaned from the internet, but it’s been so long that it’s going to be quite difficult to point to this or that. I can only defend S.o.B. within those parameters, so I intend to only do so, on a very limited basis.







    The purpose of this post is to show that while "Barbarossa" was ultimately a failure, it was possible for Germany to defeat the Soviet Union in 1941-42 within the terms defined below, hence the title "Son of Barbarossa" or "S.o.B.".

    It has been postulated here that a German southern strategy, coupled with a more severe U-Boat blockade, knocking Britain out of the war before attacking the USSR, would have, or at least could have resulted in German victory. The difficulties with politics, relying on too many other counties, which would not co-operate, conflicting spheres of influence and allies, limited shipping space with no viable option to increase same, Italian army and navy inadequacies, not to mention the German need for raw materials, ULTRA and U-Boats that didn't exist, yet, and most importantly the will to do it, appear to be insurmountable in this scenario. On the other hand, if "Barbarossa" is tweaked, fine-tuned by adding things that actually occurred at an earlier or different time, or were within the realm of possibility, it can be made to work, with other bonuses to boot.


    "S.o.B.".

    "The German General Staff assumed that victory would be easy, and "Barbarossa" was poorly prepared compared to the 1940 Norwegian and French campaigns. There was little attempt to discover Soviet strength or the conditions in which the war would be fought. In short the plan was simply to attack the Red Army. It was without: a true strategic objective, fully rectified deficiencies discovered in France, adequate intelligence, a willingness to negotiate to accomplish limited goals, consideration for a coordinated attack by Japan in the east, and it was saddled with an unduly harsh and unnecessary "Lebensraum" occupation policy. Yet it can be argued that Germany almost succeeded. Given the overall political, economic, military and strategic realities of the time, which caused decisions to be made, the decision to attack the Soviets in 41 was sound, compared to any plan for action in the Med., which was not. Barbarossa however was unsound also."


    I've posted this before, on another board - now it's time to correct those errors:

    "There was little attempt to discover Soviet strength or the conditions in which the war would be fought."

    There are 2 primary problems encountered when dealing with German Intelligence in this period, one of which is the fact that the fractious, competitive nature of the various German Intelligence agencies, and lack of a central, high level committee (other than straight to Hitler) to evaluate their findings, displays a lack of intelligence on Germany's part. The 2nd is that intelligence was considered by the Wehrmacht to be less important than leadership, and that "men, fire and will" won battles - intelligence was subordinated under operations. That wasn't always the case, and it changed later in the war when Germany was on the defensive, and intelligence had to make up for military weakness.

    Before and for Barbarossa, the Abwehr established "Stab Walli" outside of Warsaw, to direct secret ops. against the USSR. OKH relied on the 12th Branch, FHO or Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East), under Lt. Col. Eberhard Kinzel. Kinzel was responsible for gathering intelligence on the armies of Poland, Scandinavia, the lower Balkans, Africa, the Far East, the US, South and Central America, and the USSR. Sound like too much? It was, especially since Kinzel was by experience an infantry staff officer, not a specialist intelligence officer. He spoke some Polish, but no Russian. The result of Kinzel's work was that recon aircraft over the frontier, and limited reports from General Köstring, German Military Attaché in Moscow (largely unheeded, by his later account anyway), were the primary sources of intelligence for Barbarossa - the rest were largely guesses, false, and completely inadequate for attack in depth. German maps of June 1941 show many errors:

    Soviet formations under the old organization of 1938-40, the new mechanized Corps under District command, not Army command as was the case, and the Germans had no knowledge of the "front of reserve armies", and did not realize that there was a secondary concentration of strategic dimensions involving formations moving from the East. Add this to what can be described at best as "fog" concerning tanks such as the T-34 and KV's, economic intelligence, industrial capacity, and the terrain, weather conditions and transport infrastructure, there's a rationale for the inadequate preparations and Staff work by OKH for Barbarossa. Yet the German General Staff, by its own account, in its heyday would require 5-10 yrs. of in depth intelligence preparation before any worthwhile operational planning could have started on any project, but in 1941 even the British had better intelligence on the Soviets than the Germans did.


    That need not be the case, as it changed in time anyway. In Dec. 1941, 3rd Branch or Fremde Heere West assumed intelligence gathering on the US. Then in the spring of 1942, Kinzel was replaced by Col. Reinhard Gehlen. In short, his performance was far superior to that of Kinzel, his work on the USSR was later used by the CIA, he remained in charge of West Germany's Intelligence until his retirement in 1968. In early-mid 1942 Gehlen reorganized FHO, moved the USSR to the forefront as the primary target, and also assumed control of the Abwehr's "Stab Walli". Soviet primacy, and a measure of centralization was thus achieved. Operational intelligence improved immensely, and accurately, to the point that Hitler did not even believe Gehlen's reports.

    It begs to be asked if this had occurred one year earlier, whether or not Hitler would have even attacked the USSR. For my purpose he does, and does so in 1941 (if not 1939-40 if the info. was available then); if for no other reason than Stalin had planned to produce 5,500 T-34's in 1941, and that war with the Soviets was inevitable in Hitler's opinion. Where Kinzel is concerned, that slip in the tub resulted in a bad fall. Poor Kinzel broke his back, was unable to resume his duties and committed suicide (as he would in reality after the war), Gehlen taking over before Barbarossa to make a real difference, supported by OKH when before Hitler.

    Nobody says this is easy but at this point the Germans had opportunity to hugely improve their intelligence, here are just 2 available sources:

    Military - Before Hitler, there was close liaison between the German General Staff and the Red Army. In the late 20's and early 30's for example, German and Soviet officers, technicians and troops worked together testing tank prototypes and equipment at Kazan (also known as "Kama"), and aircraft at Lipetsk. Were there no friendships, or at least contacts made?

    Civilian - the Germans had made inroads in the East in WW1. Later Soviet measures in the area included population dislocation, forced agrarian collectivization, and industrialization, the local peasantry bearing much of the burden, and the animosity. In short, the intelligence failings of Barbarossa can be overcome rather reticently, despite Hitler, OKH, Stalin's Purges, and Soviet Security, if there is a will to do so.

    Remember, "Knowledge is Power".

    "Consideration for a coordinated attack by Japan in the east":

    Germany, aware of the Red Army's strengths and dispositions, requires Japan's assistance to at least tie up Soviet troops in the Far East, if not actively engage them, so that they cannot be moved west without the risk of attack. A deal, of mutual benefit has to be worked out, for my purposes within the context of the times, and obviously there can be no Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact.

    In 1936 the Japanese embarked on an audacious Synthetic Oil Programme to produce 14 million barrels/yr. by 1943. It was a dismal failure, by 1939 only 0.5% of the required synthetic oil was produced, a mere 1 million barrels were produced in 1943; Japan lacked the industrial expertise at this time, but not the resources or industrial capacity, to produce what was needed. Germany however did not lack expertise; their petro-chemical industry was a world leader. By comparison, in 1939 with unrestricted imports still available most of the year, Germany produced 2.2 million tons of synthetic oil; 5.7 million tons or 55% of the oil used by Germany in 1943 was home synthetic. Germany did provide Japan with the technical expertise for synthetic oil production, but that occurred in January 1945! By then it was of no use to anyone, both countries had lost their wars. Co-incidentally, in 1936 Japan and Germany were negotiating what became the Anti-Comintern Pact (signed in Nov.). Hitler at that time had wanted a stronger commitment from the Japanese. A sharing of synthetic oil production expertise is put on the table - German expertise and equipment, for Japanese assistance against the USSR if required, or when called upon, not that difficult to fathom given that the Russians had been Japan's traditional enemy for some time - it was after all Soviet Russia, Hitler made no bones about the fact that war was inevitable between Soviet Russia and Germany - both nations were intensely anti-communist. A later, as yet unforeseen proviso after the defeat of France could be made for action (joint, not necessarily cooperative) against the British Empire; with Italy's partial entry into the Pact a year later it was largely seen as being Anti-British at that point at any rate. An economic deal, involving natural resources, wasn't without precedence either. Much of the USSR's hydroelectric infrastructure and equipment was of German design. Whether or not the Nomonhon Incident still takes place, is irrelevant. For my purposes it does; Germany wasn't drawn into it anyway and it merely caused more Soviet troops to be sent to the East, and Japan's intentions to be regarded with more suspicion. The Japanese are kept in the picture when the Nazi-Soviet Pacts of 1939-40 are worked out, the Japanese-Soviet cease fire of Sept. 1939 still takes place. After the attack on Poland the Trans-Siberian Railway was used to facilitate trade between Germany and Japan with the Allied blockade in place; German industrial equipment and personnel, for Japanese tin, copper, and rice; from Manchukuo, Korea, and the Japanese main Is., rubber from the Dutch East Indies. The added benefit to Germany is that the synthetic oil production facilities would be built in the Manchukuo coal fields, where the Nissan Corp. was already administering the Manchukuo Heavy Industries Development Corp. In order to protect its petro-chemical industry from Soviet incursion, Japan by default is required to beef up military assets in Manchukuo anyway.


    Japan also gains a great deal. Western control of Far East oil and embargoes become superfluous, for obvious reasons. The Japanese are able to hold off from initiating hostilities with the West until the issue is decided by Germany against the Soviets, while the Kwantung Army does what it takes to draw Soviet attention, a threat requiring Soviet military assets. The minimum being, threatening, or severing if required, the Trans-Siberian Railway, the only way of moving troops and equipment from the East in any volume (in any case this was greatly feared by the Soviets). Britain, France and the Dutch (France and the Netherlands already defeated by Germany in 1940) are next, within both Germany's and Japan's sphere of influences, which unlike Germany and Italy, do not impinge on each other; joint action may be proposed for Madagascar, with British trade interdiction by submarine by both as a minimum commitment. US participation in the war may be up to US discretion; there may not be need for a Pearl Harbor attack.


    "Fully rectified deficiencies discovered in France"

    I'll deal primarily with 1 tactical, and 1 logistical failure:

    - German tank/antitank defences were found lacking when tackling heavily armoured tanks such as the Matildas, and Char 1 bis., resulting in tank losses. Intelligence would show that the T-34 and KV's would pose similar, if not more severe problems, especially if encountered in supporting numbers. Tank and AT capability must be increased to deal with this threat.

    - Logistics, primarily involving transport. Despite the excellent French transportation infrastructure, fuel shortages, which were only made good by using captured stocks, as well as ammo. shortages, sometimes severe, were reported; distances in France paled compared to those before Moscow. OKH updated training manuals, stressing the need for proper logistical preparation, and servicing - but this was all at odds with Barbarossa. That cannot be the case. OKH must stress that logistics must not be overlooked, and that its written policy be adhered to.

    Tanks, AT guns and SP AT guns:

    I've said in the past that this is not the problem that it appears to be. SuperKraut has pointed out to me that the T-34's and KV's still have to be taken out, my response was
    that I didn't have to. The German's had the tools already, they just didn't use them.

    As historian Col. A.J. Barker states "It is ironic that the industries of the conquered nations could provide only limited assistance when they were finally harnessed to the German war effort, and very few of the thousands of captured vehicles were suitable for employment in the field." The implication in part involves German industry; there's more money to be made in building a new vehicle, than refurbishing or upgrading a captured one. Given Italy's government, bureaucracy, and industry it's easy to see why Ansaldo continued to produce its own inferior designs, despite the army's plea for Ansaldo produced Pz III's and IV's under licence. But Germany was not Italy, and some of those foreign upgraded, upgunned types were later modified and utilised - necessity is the mother of invention, but it wasn't enough, wasn't in time, and wasn't sent to the right places.


    The German's committed the following tanks to Barbarossa by type:
    180 Pz I,
    746 Pz II (plus 85 IIFL),
    187 Pz 35(t),
    772 Pz 38(t) - both Czech designs,
    965 Pz III,
    439 Pz IV,
    and 230 Command Tanks, plus 227 Rumanian tanks and a strategic reserve of about 450 tanks.

    Of these, only the Pz III's and IV's were sufficiently armoured, and gunned to tackle Soviet armour, and some may even argue (I would) that they weren't even that at all. I'm not going to touch them, i.e. L/42 vs. KwK 39 L/60 5-cm on the Pz III, despite the fact that intelligence info. may dictate that R&D on more powerful guns be sped up, and more armour required.

    Being phased out and by this time out of production, Germany produced approx. 1,800 Pz I, of which approx. 1,000 remained on inventory. Although obsolete, the Pz II was still in production, approx. 1,100 on inventory. Likewise the Czech 38(t) was still in production, about 1,170 would be produced.

    Then we have the French. In many ways, French armour was superior to that of the Germans. The French built the following before their fall in 1940:
    Char Léger Hotchkiss H-35, 400,
    H-39, 1,000,
    Renault R 35, 900,
    SOMUA S-35, 400,

    Naturally not all were seized - many were damaged or destroyed in combat, good only for spares, plus a small number remained in the French colonies. Some of these vehicles made it to the East in one form or another under a variety of names, to make up for the loss of German tanks. Many more were used by occupying German forces in the West, being reclaimed and used by French forces after their return in 1944. They were well armoured, the major failure of French tanks was their one-man turrets, but they were available for Barbarossa and properly equipped with equipment such German radios, more could have been used in one form or another. Conditions in the East wouldn't have been any harder on French tanks than German, if they were properly maintained.

    Most of the larger and slower, or smaller and lighter, seized French and British types (which I haven't mentioned), which arguably weren't suited to Blitzkrieg, could be retained for occupation forces, training etc. - the British weren't able to return to France any time soon after Dunkerque anyway.

    As far as AT capability, likewise by 1941, the German standard AT gun, the 3.7-cm Pak 35/36 was too light, the 8.8-cm Flak 18, 36, 37, not a Pak or dedicated AT weapon was bulky and on the heavy side, the capable 5-cm Pak 38 in service but in numbers too small, the even more capable 7.5-cm Pak 40 not yet ready (I'm not going to deal with turreted tank guns). The result was that by the fall of 1941, too many German tanks had been taken out to credibly maintain the offensive, by then in Russia proper. However that need not be the case because the Germans still had a range of capable weaponry in between at their disposal:

    Low:
    3.7-cm Pak 35/36 - traveling weight 970 lbs., shell weight .78 lbs., muzzle
    velocity 2,495 ft./sec.

    High:
    8.8-cm Flak 18, 36, 37 - - traveling weight 15,126 lbs., shell weight 20.34 lbs.,
    muzzle velocity 2,690 ft./sec.

    Effective Intermediate:
    5-cm Pak 38- traveling weight 2,341lbs., shell weight 4.54 lbs.,
    muzzle velocity 2,460 ft./sec. (AT round)

    First off, the Germans already had a pair of 47 mm AT guns at their disposal, which approached the Pak 38 in performance:

    - The French Canon de 46 antichar SA mle 1937 (47 mm) (later 1937/1939 and 1939 models too) travelling weight 2,403 lbs., shell weight 3.8 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,805 ft./sec.
    This gun gave the Germans fits in 1940, they used it widely as the 4.7-cm Pak 141(f). Some later did find themselves atop French tanks in German service as Panzerjager. They were given a great deal of credit in knocking out British armour and stalling Op. Goodwood in 1944. They could/should have been sent East in 1941.

    - The Czech Skoda 47-mm kanon P.U.V. vz 36 AT gun
    travelling weight 1,334 lbs., shell weight 3.6 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,543 ft./sec.
    This was one of the most potent AT guns of its day, renamed 4.7-cm Pak 36(t) in German service; later arming Panzerjager as well.

    The German's had by this time seized a variety of light and medium artillery pieces which served in a variety of roles. As AT guns they fired heavy shells at relatively low muzzle velocities. These included the French Schneider Canon de 105 mle 1913, and the smaller Atelier Bourges Canon de 105 court mle 1935 B, the Czech Skoda 76.5-mm kanon vz 30 and 100-mm houfice vz 30, 100-mm houfice vz 14 and houfnice vz 14/19 (also seized from Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia), and the British Ordnance, Q.F., 25-pdr Mk I. Many found themselves in service against the Soviets, many more were incorporated in the Atlantic Wall. I'm not really all that concerned about their AT capability, but as a source of carriages, shields and spares. For example, when needed the British used the 25-pdr in the AT role in North Africa, its carriage was also used to mount 17-pdr. AT guns that were known as "Pheasants" - they were a successful compromise.

    This next gun is key however; the ubiquitous French 75's. After the fall of France thousands (over 4,500) of them were seized and stockpiled in storerooms by German forces, not knowing what to do with them - more were seized from Poland and Greece. The updates were standard Canon de 75 modele 1897/33, renamed as the 7.5 cm FK 231(f) or more commonly as the 7.5-cm FK 97(f) in German service. They were light for the artillery role, but when confronted by the Soviet T-34's and KV's, French 75's were taken from those storerooms, adapted with strengthening bands around the barrel, fitted on 5-cm Pak 38 carriages, a muzzle brake was added to reduce recoil, and special AT ammo. was produced. These stopgap guns known as 7.5-cm Pak 97/38 (as differentiated from the 7.5-cm Pak 40 or the KwK 7.5's) were rushed East, and they were capable of defeating those Soviet tanks.

    Germany also had access to AA guns, which could have been used much like their "88"s, or self-propelled:

    1) The British Ordnance, QF, 3 in 20 cwt (3" or 76.2 mm) gun was still the standard AA gun for the BEF and was preferred by crews over the 3.7" because it was lighter, more mobile, simpler, and easier to use. The BEF left almost the Army's entire complement in France.

    travelling weight 17,584 lbs. (on a nifty 4 wheel platform, outrigger feet attached, and it included ammo. lockers), shell weight 16 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,000 ft./sec.

    Of those left in the UK, some 100 carriages were converted to rocket launching platforms, their barrels were mounted in Churchill tank chassis's as tank destroyers, and as late as 1944 there were plans to mount another 50 onto 17 pdr. carriages as AT guns.

    2) The French had some 1,696, 40 mm (Bofors produced under licence in Poland) and 75 mm AA guns. The French series of 75-mm AA guns, some dating from WW1, had been updated to the Schneider Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 17/34 standard. Amongst the most modern were Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 1933, Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 1932 and 1936. They were renamed 7.5-cm Flak M.33(f), 7.5-cm Flak M.17/34(f), 7.5-cm Flak M.1932(f) etc., in German service.

    travelling weight 11,684 lbs., shell weight 14.2 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,297 ft./sec.

    The Germans later had as many as 160 of the 7.5-cm Flak M.33(f) in service protecting the Reich. In 1941 RAF Bomber Command's performance was abysmal, those guns weren't needed there.

    3) Lastly the Swedish Bofors 75-mm and 80-mm Model 1929 and 1930.
    To avoid some of the conditions of Versailles, Krupp sent a team to work in Sweden in the 20's. Both Krupp and Bofors developed 75 mm. AA guns, the Krupp gun evolved into the "88" series (although there was also a WW1 progenitor), the Bofors 75-mm came out at about the same time. Loa and behold they both shared a number of features in common, the Bofors being simpler and easier to use - why the Chinese, and the Dutch (for the East Indies) bought them too.

    travelling weight 9,259 lbs., shell weight 17.6 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,461 ft./sec.

    These potent guns were also purchased by Finland, Hungary and Greece. The Greek guns fell into German hands, Germany having access and a willing partner in Sweden could have purchased more, or produced them at the Kongsberg Arsenal plant in Norway where they produced the Bofors 40 mm guns under licence as the 4-cm Flak 28 (Bofors), or Poland.

    Note that these capable French, British and Swedish guns were all easier to move, and had lower profiles than the Flak "88"s.

    The following is just a partial list of vehicle types and components already mentioned by gun, and the year they were developed:
    4.7-cm Pak (Czech)
    - Panzerjager I, Pz I, 1940
    - Lorraine Schlepper (French), 1941
    - Renault Schlepper, (R-35), 1943
    - Panzerspahwagen, Panhard, 1942



    I'm sure there are sources out there i.e. other than mine, which have stats. different than those I quoted. I'm sure they are generally correct, I'm not about to argue minor points. I am also well aware that travelling weight, shell weight, and muzzle velocity alone do not establish a sound AT weapon, and that there are many aspects, some of them intangible, which also go to make that determination. I use them in the general sense.

    Transport:
    The half million or so trucks that were in fact used for Barbarossa would be properly maintained for "S.o.B." (see above and below), allowing for much greater serviceability but even that isn't enough.

    By the late 30's, the German military transport inventory included over 100 different vehicle types in service. The system was rationalized under General von Schell, Director of Motorization, to 30 vehicle types, by far the most numerous was the Schell "Typ S" 4X2, (Typ "A" was 4X4 - "A" for "Allured") which were basically commercial 4X2's with only superficial details to identify them as military vehicles. Conditions in the East, compared to France demanded 4X4 performance as a minimum, however 4X4's weren't stressed. From 1937-44, Opel produced some 70,000 of their capable "Blitz" 3 ton GP "Typ S" trucks, but only 25,000 "Typ A" trucks. Some 90,000 heavy duty 4X4's would've made a huge difference, likewise from other German manufacturers like Mercedes, and Borgward-Bussing, while truck and vehicle sources already under German control (see below) added to heavy haulage capacity, and made up the difference in 4X2 transport.

    Add to this French half-tracks; the P 107 produced both by Unic and Citröen-Kégresse, the most numerous in an Army that used many, and many different types of half tracked vehicles. The design was sound; the US Army M3 Half-track track system was based on that of the French Kégresse track. The German's renamed them the U 304(f), and they were treated exactly like the SdKfz 250, for towing artillery and AT guns, some later mounting AT guns on their hulls. Most were retained in France; many were taken over by French troops after the Invasions of France and put back into use. The capable Lorraine APC was also taken over for use by German forces and renamed the Lorraine Schlepper. Also the Panhard et Levassor Type 178, and Modéle 1935 armoured cars, known as the P 204(f) in German service (some later used in the East as anti-partisan). Again, these were encountered by the French in 1944 and taken over. The design was sound; Renault began building an up-gunned version again in Aug 1944. These half-tracks and armoured cars were needed in the East in 1941, as personnel carriers, prime movers, for recon., even tank recovery, if for nothing else.

    On top of this the BEF, a motorized formation left almost 90,000 vehicles in France after Dunkerque - the equivalent of more than the past 2 yrs. of military truck production in Germany i.e. 32,558 trucks manufactured for the military in 1939, 53,348 in 1940, 51,085 in 1941. Considering those of the French, plus Steyr of Austria, Tatra and Skoda of Czechoslovakia, and Botond of Hungary also built military Schell "Typ S" trucks, and a variety of "Typ A", 6X6 and 6X4's. For Barbarossa, the Germans had incorporated some of the vehicles seized in Poland, and conscripted from their own civilian population - they could have used more Austins and Renaults. Overall the 42 million French were a motorized society, having more vehicles pre-war on French roads than Germany (78 million) and Italy (43 million) combined - 2,269,000 vehicles vs. 1,656,000 + 372,000. Despite Autobahns and Autostrade, part of the problem for Germany was that Germans relied heavily on their excellent railway system; the Italian's on their merchant marine. I'm not talking about using every Parisian taxi, but there was a great deal of slack, compared to Germany and Italy, and French commercial vehicles in German military livery, would not be that dissimilar from those "Typ S" already in service. They have to be used, or available to follow the early breakthrough in 1941, not later.

    It may be argued that there is a plethora of types, and subtypes, which amount to a logistics nightmare up above, the Germans did make use of a variety of captured equipment - nightmare notwithstanding. Likewise, while it's true that many captured armaments, vehicles and components found themselves in various roles in the East later in the war, as I've shown, they were available in 1941, and not used, although they would be pressed into service later.

    Lastly, where transport is concerned are the railways:

    This is actually more important, because the Ost-Heer never did have enough automotive transport to move its armour to the front; they relied on the rails because they had to.

    It was well known that railway track laid in the USSR, Finland, Latvia and Estonia was 5' broadgage, compared to track in Germany, Rumania, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland which was Central European gauge - 4'8 1/2". Again, poor staff work allowed logistical problems to occur. The troops operating the railways or Eisenbahntruppe were inadequate to the task, and civilian railway personnel from the Reichsbahn were brought in that 1st winter, which helped a great deal. For "S.o.B." the Eisenbahntruppe have to be moved into Rumania with the first German troops to maximise their railway system. The Reichsbahn under Rail Transport Minister Dorpmüller has to be given authority over the Soviet railways as soon as seized, with the full support of Organization Todt, to the point that Hiwis are drafted for local labour, and projects in the West delayed. Track, sidings, turntables, repair shops and railway facilities including North/South lines must be converted, C.E. locomotives and rolling stock prepped for the more demanding service in the East, spares and proper fuel coal provided.

    Fuel:
    More, and more demanding vehicles, means a larger fuel requirement. Despite the campaigns in Scandinavia, the Low Countries and France, and the Battle of Britain, Germany finished 1940 by adding to her fuel surplus:

    Year End Military Stocks by Type - 1940, in ,000 Metric tons: aviation fuel (+102, to 613,), auto petrol/gasoline (+319, to 599,), and diesel (+146, to 296,) increased in 1940. Plus overall production increased in 1941:

    Overall Annual German Production by Source in ,000 Metric Tons:

    1940 - Home crude - 1,465, Home Synthetic, 3,348, Import, 2,075,
    Total, 6,888, Used in Year, 5,856.

    1941 - Home crude - 1,562, Home Synthetic, 4,116, Import, 2,807,
    Total, 8,485, Used in Year, 7,305.

    In short, despite Barbarossa and a decrease in military stocks, overall Germany showed a surplus of almost 1,200,000 metric tons of oil production at the end of 1941 - Germany was not without oil. What's of even more importance, before the opening of hostilities with the USSR, a major oil producer still an ally of sorts, and trading partner, further stock piling can still occur in 1940-41 i.e. before initiating "S.o.B.", to take control of those oil producing assets. Production of high quality, wide temperature variation engine and chassis lubricants must be stressed from those oil imports, as they are sometimes hard to produce from synthetic oil. This can be manufactured in Germany; should Stalin ask why? Because conditions in French and British Africa can be hard on engines (wink) - that's what Stalin wants to hear anyway.

    "Saddled with an unduly harsh and unnecessary "Lebensraum" occupation policy"

    I was going to deal with this first, but the more time you spend on it the less important it becomes. I had intended on Nazi Germany waging a political war over communism, using the anti-Stalin sympathy in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, and court nationalists and anti-Communists like Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko to set up independent states within the German sphere much like Slovakia. Also I'd intended on using Soviet prisoners to harvest Ukrainian wheat to keep the locals happy, before converting them against their former Soviets masters and using them en masse as per Vlasov's Russian Liberation Movement. First, whether or not all that can occur within a scenario involving Hitler is debatable, despite acting on accurate intelligence on the USSR. I mention this only in passing, I don't believe any of it is necessary for "S.o.B.".

    I have no intention of being cold-hearted but ultimately neither Lebensraum, nor the Final Solution caused the Barbarossa assault to fail. The prolongation of their war against the Soviets brought their Lebensraum policy back to haunt the Germans, the persecution of Jewish scientists was partly responsible for ultimately giving the A-Bomb to the US, but by then Germany was out of the war. Neither was a problem in 1941, even less so for "S.o.B.", the quick knockout punch originally intended for Barbarossa. Later occupation may be a problem, but that isn't of "S.o.B."s concern. Partisan activity was relatively light, before the realities of German policy and occupation set in, even then Partisans often faced extinction at the hands of the Ukrainians. Some 50% of all partisans were party or Komsomol members ordered to stay behind, and were considered alien by the local rural populations (as were Red Army stragglers), which in many instances exterminated them. In any case, in this, the early phase of the German-Soviet war, partisans weren't yet trained in irregular warfare and the Wehrmacht found it relatively easy to wipe them out. Even as late as Feb. 1942 there were only about 20 Partisan attacks/month over the whole railway system under German occupation, compared to 730 later in Sept. - "S.o.B." should be completed long before the Partisans make themselves felt.

    "a true strategic objective", "a willingness to negotiate to accomplish limited goals"

    Stalin himself stated, right or wrong, that 75% of the Soviet armament industry was concentrated in the area of Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev and that a 150 mile advance to the east of these areas "might" cripple the USSR. I'm not going to argue strategy here; Moscow vs. Leningrad, Kiev, Baku, the Urals themselves or all of the above. The object is to improve the Ost-Heer's ability to achieve those goals to outright defeat the USSR, and within 1941, early 1942 and/or have an alternative.

    The alternative: "limited goals" is a negotiated settlement, using Bulgaria, perfectly suited as an intermediary. The minimum German requirement would be the terms negotiated in the Brest-Litovsk, Russo-German Peace Treaty of 1918, which the victors of the war in the West had declared void, but which German leaders prior to Hitler had aspired to, but Hitler had relinquished after the Polish campaign. Stalin would recognize a measure of legitimacy here (they'd been negotiated and accepted by Lenin), plus in July 1941 Stalin summoned Bulgarian envoy Stamenov and offered similar terms to Hitler, but the Bulgarians refused to make the overtures. If accepted, you have to wonder what the ensuing peace, or likely later continuation of hostilities would be like. In any case, "S.o.B." would be validated.

    I know this is a best case scenario, with the benefit of retrospection. But in execution and planning Barbarossa had nothing in common with Overlord, yet it could be argued was an even larger, riskier endeavour. It can also be argued that the German General Staff was the best in the world; if Barbarossa doesn't resemble Overlord, then it should have, and certainly could have.
    "I am Groot"
    - Groot

  • #2
    That is some real reading bubba. I printed it and put it in the pile of magazine articles in the expectation there is some useful or really interesting information or concepts in it. Back at ya later

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      That is some real reading bubba. I printed it and put it in the pile of magazine articles in the expectation there is some useful or really interesting information or concepts in it. Back at ya later
      Thanks Carl, I appreciate it; whenever I post this thing it just languishes.
      "I am Groot"
      - Groot

      Comment


      • #4
        Marmat, I remember this SoB from the History Channel forum about 10 years ago. Still a great post!

        However, for more forum interaction I would recommend breaking it down into related threads similiar to a General Staff meeting:
        Situation- State the basic scenario and base assumptions that underlay:
        G-1 Personnel
        G-2 Intelligence
        G-3 Operations
        G-4 Logistics

        Break out the SoB into 4 threads that cover the input of the basic staff sections that make up the overall plan.
        "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
        -Omar Bradley
        "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
        -Anonymous US Army logistician

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Marmat View Post
          This post dates back to the 90's, I'm aware of some errors, I have no doubt that there are many more, but I still agree with a good chunk of it, most notably that the Germans had means already at their disposal that they failed to use, until they had lost the initiative and it was too late, and that it has a greater chance of succeeding than any Med. type strategy. I know the ‘bits” all came from sources that I own i.e. nothing gleaned from the internet, but it’s been so long that it’s going to be quite difficult to point to this or that. I can only defend S.o.B. within those parameters, so I intend to only do so, on a very limited basis.







          The purpose of this post is to show that while "Barbarossa" was ultimately a failure, it was possible for Germany to defeat the Soviet Union in 1941-42 within the terms defined below, hence the title "Son of Barbarossa" or "S.o.B.".

          It has been postulated here that a German southern strategy, coupled with a more severe U-Boat blockade, knocking Britain out of the war before attacking the USSR, would have, or at least could have resulted in German victory. The difficulties with politics, relying on too many other counties, which would not co-operate, conflicting spheres of influence and allies, limited shipping space with no viable option to increase same, Italian army and navy inadequacies, not to mention the German need for raw materials, ULTRA and U-Boats that didn't exist, yet, and most importantly the will to do it, appear to be insurmountable in this scenario. On the other hand, if "Barbarossa" is tweaked, fine-tuned by adding things that actually occurred at an earlier or different time, or were within the realm of possibility, it can be made to work, with other bonuses to boot.


          "S.o.B.".

          "The German General Staff assumed that victory would be easy, and "Barbarossa" was poorly prepared compared to the 1940 Norwegian and French campaigns. There was little attempt to discover Soviet strength or the conditions in which the war would be fought. In short the plan was simply to attack the Red Army. It was without: a true strategic objective, fully rectified deficiencies discovered in France, adequate intelligence, a willingness to negotiate to accomplish limited goals, consideration for a coordinated attack by Japan in the east, and it was saddled with an unduly harsh and unnecessary "Lebensraum" occupation policy. Yet it can be argued that Germany almost succeeded. Given the overall political, economic, military and strategic realities of the time, which caused decisions to be made, the decision to attack the Soviets in 41 was sound, compared to any plan for action in the Med., which was not. Barbarossa however was unsound also."


          I've posted this before, on another board - now it's time to correct those errors:

          "There was little attempt to discover Soviet strength or the conditions in which the war would be fought."

          There are 2 primary problems encountered when dealing with German Intelligence in this period, one of which is the fact that the fractious, competitive nature of the various German Intelligence agencies, and lack of a central, high level committee (other than straight to Hitler) to evaluate their findings, displays a lack of intelligence on Germany's part. The 2nd is that intelligence was considered by the Wehrmacht to be less important than leadership, and that "men, fire and will" won battles - intelligence was subordinated under operations. That wasn't always the case, and it changed later in the war when Germany was on the defensive, and intelligence had to make up for military weakness.

          Before and for Barbarossa, the Abwehr established "Stab Walli" outside of Warsaw, to direct secret ops. against the USSR. OKH relied on the 12th Branch, FHO or Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East), under Lt. Col. Eberhard Kinzel. Kinzel was responsible for gathering intelligence on the armies of Poland, Scandinavia, the lower Balkans, Africa, the Far East, the US, South and Central America, and the USSR. Sound like too much? It was, especially since Kinzel was by experience an infantry staff officer, not a specialist intelligence officer. He spoke some Polish, but no Russian. The result of Kinzel's work was that recon aircraft over the frontier, and limited reports from General Köstring, German Military Attaché in Moscow (largely unheeded, by his later account anyway), were the primary sources of intelligence for Barbarossa - the rest were largely guesses, false, and completely inadequate for attack in depth. German maps of June 1941 show many errors:

          Soviet formations under the old organization of 1938-40, the new mechanized Corps under District command, not Army command as was the case, and the Germans had no knowledge of the "front of reserve armies", and did not realize that there was a secondary concentration of strategic dimensions involving formations moving from the East. Add this to what can be described at best as "fog" concerning tanks such as the T-34 and KV's, economic intelligence, industrial capacity, and the terrain, weather conditions and transport infrastructure, there's a rationale for the inadequate preparations and Staff work by OKH for Barbarossa. Yet the German General Staff, by its own account, in its heyday would require 5-10 yrs. of in depth intelligence preparation before any worthwhile operational planning could have started on any project, but in 1941 even the British had better intelligence on the Soviets than the Germans did.


          That need not be the case, as it changed in time anyway. In Dec. 1941, 3rd Branch or Fremde Heere West assumed intelligence gathering on the US. Then in the spring of 1942, Kinzel was replaced by Col. Reinhard Gehlen. In short, his performance was far superior to that of Kinzel, his work on the USSR was later used by the CIA, he remained in charge of West Germany's Intelligence until his retirement in 1968. In early-mid 1942 Gehlen reorganized FHO, moved the USSR to the forefront as the primary target, and also assumed control of the Abwehr's "Stab Walli". Soviet primacy, and a measure of centralization was thus achieved. Operational intelligence improved immensely, and accurately, to the point that Hitler did not even believe Gehlen's reports.

          It begs to be asked if this had occurred one year earlier, whether or not Hitler would have even attacked the USSR. For my purpose he does, and does so in 1941 (if not 1939-40 if the info. was available then); if for no other reason than Stalin had planned to produce 5,500 T-34's in 1941, and that war with the Soviets was inevitable in Hitler's opinion. Where Kinzel is concerned, that slip in the tub resulted in a bad fall. Poor Kinzel broke his back, was unable to resume his duties and committed suicide (as he would in reality after the war), Gehlen taking over before Barbarossa to make a real difference, supported by OKH when before Hitler.

          Nobody says this is easy but at this point the Germans had opportunity to hugely improve their intelligence, here are just 2 available sources:

          Military - Before Hitler, there was close liaison between the German General Staff and the Red Army. In the late 20's and early 30's for example, German and Soviet officers, technicians and troops worked together testing tank prototypes and equipment at Kazan (also known as "Kama"), and aircraft at Lipetsk. Were there no friendships, or at least contacts made?

          Civilian - the Germans had made inroads in the East in WW1. Later Soviet measures in the area included population dislocation, forced agrarian collectivization, and industrialization, the local peasantry bearing much of the burden, and the animosity. In short, the intelligence failings of Barbarossa can be overcome rather reticently, despite Hitler, OKH, Stalin's Purges, and Soviet Security, if there is a will to do so.

          Remember, "Knowledge is Power".

          "Consideration for a coordinated attack by Japan in the east":

          Germany, aware of the Red Army's strengths and dispositions, requires Japan's assistance to at least tie up Soviet troops in the Far East, if not actively engage them, so that they cannot be moved west without the risk of attack. A deal, of mutual benefit has to be worked out, for my purposes within the context of the times, and obviously there can be no Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact.

          In 1936 the Japanese embarked on an audacious Synthetic Oil Programme to produce 14 million barrels/yr. by 1943. It was a dismal failure, by 1939 only 0.5% of the required synthetic oil was produced, a mere 1 million barrels were produced in 1943; Japan lacked the industrial expertise at this time, but not the resources or industrial capacity, to produce what was needed. Germany however did not lack expertise; their petro-chemical industry was a world leader. By comparison, in 1939 with unrestricted imports still available most of the year, Germany produced 2.2 million tons of synthetic oil; 5.7 million tons or 55% of the oil used by Germany in 1943 was home synthetic. Germany did provide Japan with the technical expertise for synthetic oil production, but that occurred in January 1945! By then it was of no use to anyone, both countries had lost their wars. Co-incidentally, in 1936 Japan and Germany were negotiating what became the Anti-Comintern Pact (signed in Nov.). Hitler at that time had wanted a stronger commitment from the Japanese. A sharing of synthetic oil production expertise is put on the table - German expertise and equipment, for Japanese assistance against the USSR if required, or when called upon, not that difficult to fathom given that the Russians had been Japan's traditional enemy for some time - it was after all Soviet Russia, Hitler made no bones about the fact that war was inevitable between Soviet Russia and Germany - both nations were intensely anti-communist. A later, as yet unforeseen proviso after the defeat of France could be made for action (joint, not necessarily cooperative) against the British Empire; with Italy's partial entry into the Pact a year later it was largely seen as being Anti-British at that point at any rate. An economic deal, involving natural resources, wasn't without precedence either. Much of the USSR's hydroelectric infrastructure and equipment was of German design. Whether or not the Nomonhon Incident still takes place, is irrelevant. For my purposes it does; Germany wasn't drawn into it anyway and it merely caused more Soviet troops to be sent to the East, and Japan's intentions to be regarded with more suspicion. The Japanese are kept in the picture when the Nazi-Soviet Pacts of 1939-40 are worked out, the Japanese-Soviet cease fire of Sept. 1939 still takes place. After the attack on Poland the Trans-Siberian Railway was used to facilitate trade between Germany and Japan with the Allied blockade in place; German industrial equipment and personnel, for Japanese tin, copper, and rice; from Manchukuo, Korea, and the Japanese main Is., rubber from the Dutch East Indies. The added benefit to Germany is that the synthetic oil production facilities would be built in the Manchukuo coal fields, where the Nissan Corp. was already administering the Manchukuo Heavy Industries Development Corp. In order to protect its petro-chemical industry from Soviet incursion, Japan by default is required to beef up military assets in Manchukuo anyway.


          Japan also gains a great deal. Western control of Far East oil and embargoes become superfluous, for obvious reasons. The Japanese are able to hold off from initiating hostilities with the West until the issue is decided by Germany against the Soviets, while the Kwantung Army does what it takes to draw Soviet attention, a threat requiring Soviet military assets. The minimum being, threatening, or severing if required, the Trans-Siberian Railway, the only way of moving troops and equipment from the East in any volume (in any case this was greatly feared by the Soviets). Britain, France and the Dutch (France and the Netherlands already defeated by Germany in 1940) are next, within both Germany's and Japan's sphere of influences, which unlike Germany and Italy, do not impinge on each other; joint action may be proposed for Madagascar, with British trade interdiction by submarine by both as a minimum commitment. US participation in the war may be up to US discretion; there may not be need for a Pearl Harbor attack.


          "Fully rectified deficiencies discovered in France"

          I'll deal primarily with 1 tactical, and 1 logistical failure:

          - German tank/antitank defences were found lacking when tackling heavily armoured tanks such as the Matildas, and Char 1 bis., resulting in tank losses. Intelligence would show that the T-34 and KV's would pose similar, if not more severe problems, especially if encountered in supporting numbers. Tank and AT capability must be increased to deal with this threat.

          - Logistics, primarily involving transport. Despite the excellent French transportation infrastructure, fuel shortages, which were only made good by using captured stocks, as well as ammo. shortages, sometimes severe, were reported; distances in France paled compared to those before Moscow. OKH updated training manuals, stressing the need for proper logistical preparation, and servicing - but this was all at odds with Barbarossa. That cannot be the case. OKH must stress that logistics must not be overlooked, and that its written policy be adhered to.

          Tanks, AT guns and SP AT guns:

          I've said in the past that this is not the problem that it appears to be. SuperKraut has pointed out to me that the T-34's and KV's still have to be taken out, my response was
          that I didn't have to. The German's had the tools already, they just didn't use them.

          As historian Col. A.J. Barker states "It is ironic that the industries of the conquered nations could provide only limited assistance when they were finally harnessed to the German war effort, and very few of the thousands of captured vehicles were suitable for employment in the field." The implication in part involves German industry; there's more money to be made in building a new vehicle, than refurbishing or upgrading a captured one. Given Italy's government, bureaucracy, and industry it's easy to see why Ansaldo continued to produce its own inferior designs, despite the army's plea for Ansaldo produced Pz III's and IV's under licence. But Germany was not Italy, and some of those foreign upgraded, upgunned types were later modified and utilised - necessity is the mother of invention, but it wasn't enough, wasn't in time, and wasn't sent to the right places.


          The German's committed the following tanks to Barbarossa by type:
          180 Pz I,
          746 Pz II (plus 85 IIFL),
          187 Pz 35(t),
          772 Pz 38(t) - both Czech designs,
          965 Pz III,
          439 Pz IV,
          and 230 Command Tanks, plus 227 Rumanian tanks and a strategic reserve of about 450 tanks.

          Of these, only the Pz III's and IV's were sufficiently armoured, and gunned to tackle Soviet armour, and some may even argue (I would) that they weren't even that at all. I'm not going to touch them, i.e. L/42 vs. KwK 39 L/60 5-cm on the Pz III, despite the fact that intelligence info. may dictate that R&D on more powerful guns be sped up, and more armour required.

          Being phased out and by this time out of production, Germany produced approx. 1,800 Pz I, of which approx. 1,000 remained on inventory. Although obsolete, the Pz II was still in production, approx. 1,100 on inventory. Likewise the Czech 38(t) was still in production, about 1,170 would be produced.

          Then we have the French. In many ways, French armour was superior to that of the Germans. The French built the following before their fall in 1940:
          Char Léger Hotchkiss H-35, 400,
          H-39, 1,000,
          Renault R 35, 900,
          SOMUA S-35, 400,

          Naturally not all were seized - many were damaged or destroyed in combat, good only for spares, plus a small number remained in the French colonies. Some of these vehicles made it to the East in one form or another under a variety of names, to make up for the loss of German tanks. Many more were used by occupying German forces in the West, being reclaimed and used by French forces after their return in 1944. They were well armoured, the major failure of French tanks was their one-man turrets, but they were available for Barbarossa and properly equipped with equipment such German radios, more could have been used in one form or another. Conditions in the East wouldn't have been any harder on French tanks than German, if they were properly maintained.

          Most of the larger and slower, or smaller and lighter, seized French and British types (which I haven't mentioned), which arguably weren't suited to Blitzkrieg, could be retained for occupation forces, training etc. - the British weren't able to return to France any time soon after Dunkerque anyway.

          As far as AT capability, likewise by 1941, the German standard AT gun, the 3.7-cm Pak 35/36 was too light, the 8.8-cm Flak 18, 36, 37, not a Pak or dedicated AT weapon was bulky and on the heavy side, the capable 5-cm Pak 38 in service but in numbers too small, the even more capable 7.5-cm Pak 40 not yet ready (I'm not going to deal with turreted tank guns). The result was that by the fall of 1941, too many German tanks had been taken out to credibly maintain the offensive, by then in Russia proper. However that need not be the case because the Germans still had a range of capable weaponry in between at their disposal:

          Low:
          3.7-cm Pak 35/36 - traveling weight 970 lbs., shell weight .78 lbs., muzzle
          velocity 2,495 ft./sec.

          High:
          8.8-cm Flak 18, 36, 37 - - traveling weight 15,126 lbs., shell weight 20.34 lbs.,
          muzzle velocity 2,690 ft./sec.

          Effective Intermediate:
          5-cm Pak 38- traveling weight 2,341lbs., shell weight 4.54 lbs.,
          muzzle velocity 2,460 ft./sec. (AT round)

          First off, the Germans already had a pair of 47 mm AT guns at their disposal, which approached the Pak 38 in performance:

          - The French Canon de 46 antichar SA mle 1937 (47 mm) (later 1937/1939 and 1939 models too) travelling weight 2,403 lbs., shell weight 3.8 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,805 ft./sec.
          This gun gave the Germans fits in 1940, they used it widely as the 4.7-cm Pak 141(f). Some later did find themselves atop French tanks in German service as Panzerjager. They were given a great deal of credit in knocking out British armour and stalling Op. Goodwood in 1944. They could/should have been sent East in 1941.

          - The Czech Skoda 47-mm kanon P.U.V. vz 36 AT gun
          travelling weight 1,334 lbs., shell weight 3.6 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,543 ft./sec.
          This was one of the most potent AT guns of its day, renamed 4.7-cm Pak 36(t) in German service; later arming Panzerjager as well.

          The German's had by this time seized a variety of light and medium artillery pieces which served in a variety of roles. As AT guns they fired heavy shells at relatively low muzzle velocities. These included the French Schneider Canon de 105 mle 1913, and the smaller Atelier Bourges Canon de 105 court mle 1935 B, the Czech Skoda 76.5-mm kanon vz 30 and 100-mm houfice vz 30, 100-mm houfice vz 14 and houfnice vz 14/19 (also seized from Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia), and the British Ordnance, Q.F., 25-pdr Mk I. Many found themselves in service against the Soviets, many more were incorporated in the Atlantic Wall. I'm not really all that concerned about their AT capability, but as a source of carriages, shields and spares. For example, when needed the British used the 25-pdr in the AT role in North Africa, its carriage was also used to mount 17-pdr. AT guns that were known as "Pheasants" - they were a successful compromise.

          This next gun is key however; the ubiquitous French 75's. After the fall of France thousands (over 4,500) of them were seized and stockpiled in storerooms by German forces, not knowing what to do with them - more were seized from Poland and Greece. The updates were standard Canon de 75 modele 1897/33, renamed as the 7.5 cm FK 231(f) or more commonly as the 7.5-cm FK 97(f) in German service. They were light for the artillery role, but when confronted by the Soviet T-34's and KV's, French 75's were taken from those storerooms, adapted with strengthening bands around the barrel, fitted on 5-cm Pak 38 carriages, a muzzle brake was added to reduce recoil, and special AT ammo. was produced. These stopgap guns known as 7.5-cm Pak 97/38 (as differentiated from the 7.5-cm Pak 40 or the KwK 7.5's) were rushed East, and they were capable of defeating those Soviet tanks.

          Germany also had access to AA guns, which could have been used much like their "88"s, or self-propelled:

          1) The British Ordnance, QF, 3 in 20 cwt (3" or 76.2 mm) gun was still the standard AA gun for the BEF and was preferred by crews over the 3.7" because it was lighter, more mobile, simpler, and easier to use. The BEF left almost the Army's entire complement in France.

          travelling weight 17,584 lbs. (on a nifty 4 wheel platform, outrigger feet attached, and it included ammo. lockers), shell weight 16 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,000 ft./sec.

          Of those left in the UK, some 100 carriages were converted to rocket launching platforms, their barrels were mounted in Churchill tank chassis's as tank destroyers, and as late as 1944 there were plans to mount another 50 onto 17 pdr. carriages as AT guns.

          2) The French had some 1,696, 40 mm (Bofors produced under licence in Poland) and 75 mm AA guns. The French series of 75-mm AA guns, some dating from WW1, had been updated to the Schneider Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 17/34 standard. Amongst the most modern were Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 1933, Canon de 75mm contre aeronefs mle 1932 and 1936. They were renamed 7.5-cm Flak M.33(f), 7.5-cm Flak M.17/34(f), 7.5-cm Flak M.1932(f) etc., in German service.

          travelling weight 11,684 lbs., shell weight 14.2 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,297 ft./sec.

          The Germans later had as many as 160 of the 7.5-cm Flak M.33(f) in service protecting the Reich. In 1941 RAF Bomber Command's performance was abysmal, those guns weren't needed there.

          3) Lastly the Swedish Bofors 75-mm and 80-mm Model 1929 and 1930.
          To avoid some of the conditions of Versailles, Krupp sent a team to work in Sweden in the 20's. Both Krupp and Bofors developed 75 mm. AA guns, the Krupp gun evolved into the "88" series (although there was also a WW1 progenitor), the Bofors 75-mm came out at about the same time. Loa and behold they both shared a number of features in common, the Bofors being simpler and easier to use - why the Chinese, and the Dutch (for the East Indies) bought them too.

          travelling weight 9,259 lbs., shell weight 17.6 lbs., muzzle velocity 2,461 ft./sec.

          These potent guns were also purchased by Finland, Hungary and Greece. The Greek guns fell into German hands, Germany having access and a willing partner in Sweden could have purchased more, or produced them at the Kongsberg Arsenal plant in Norway where they produced the Bofors 40 mm guns under licence as the 4-cm Flak 28 (Bofors), or Poland.

          Note that these capable French, British and Swedish guns were all easier to move, and had lower profiles than the Flak "88"s.

          The following is just a partial list of vehicle types and components already mentioned by gun, and the year they were developed:
          4.7-cm Pak (Czech)
          - Panzerjager I, Pz I, 1940
          - Lorraine Schlepper (French), 1941
          - Renault Schlepper, (R-35), 1943
          - Panzerspahwagen, Panhard, 1942



          I'm sure there are sources out there i.e. other than mine, which have stats. different than those I quoted. I'm sure they are generally correct, I'm not about to argue minor points. I am also well aware that travelling weight, shell weight, and muzzle velocity alone do not establish a sound AT weapon, and that there are many aspects, some of them intangible, which also go to make that determination. I use them in the general sense.

          Transport:
          The half million or so trucks that were in fact used for Barbarossa would be properly maintained for "S.o.B." (see above and below), allowing for much greater serviceability but even that isn't enough.

          By the late 30's, the German military transport inventory included over 100 different vehicle types in service. The system was rationalized under General von Schell, Director of Motorization, to 30 vehicle types, by far the most numerous was the Schell "Typ S" 4X2, (Typ "A" was 4X4 - "A" for "Allured") which were basically commercial 4X2's with only superficial details to identify them as military vehicles. Conditions in the East, compared to France demanded 4X4 performance as a minimum, however 4X4's weren't stressed. From 1937-44, Opel produced some 70,000 of their capable "Blitz" 3 ton GP "Typ S" trucks, but only 25,000 "Typ A" trucks. Some 90,000 heavy duty 4X4's would've made a huge difference, likewise from other German manufacturers like Mercedes, and Borgward-Bussing, while truck and vehicle sources already under German control (see below) added to heavy haulage capacity, and made up the difference in 4X2 transport.

          Add to this French half-tracks; the P 107 produced both by Unic and Citröen-Kégresse, the most numerous in an Army that used many, and many different types of half tracked vehicles. The design was sound; the US Army M3 Half-track track system was based on that of the French Kégresse track. The German's renamed them the U 304(f), and they were treated exactly like the SdKfz 250, for towing artillery and AT guns, some later mounting AT guns on their hulls. Most were retained in France; many were taken over by French troops after the Invasions of France and put back into use. The capable Lorraine APC was also taken over for use by German forces and renamed the Lorraine Schlepper. Also the Panhard et Levassor Type 178, and Modéle 1935 armoured cars, known as the P 204(f) in German service (some later used in the East as anti-partisan). Again, these were encountered by the French in 1944 and taken over. The design was sound; Renault began building an up-gunned version again in Aug 1944. These half-tracks and armoured cars were needed in the East in 1941, as personnel carriers, prime movers, for recon., even tank recovery, if for nothing else.

          On top of this the BEF, a motorized formation left almost 90,000 vehicles in France after Dunkerque - the equivalent of more than the past 2 yrs. of military truck production in Germany i.e. 32,558 trucks manufactured for the military in 1939, 53,348 in 1940, 51,085 in 1941. Considering those of the French, plus Steyr of Austria, Tatra and Skoda of Czechoslovakia, and Botond of Hungary also built military Schell "Typ S" trucks, and a variety of "Typ A", 6X6 and 6X4's. For Barbarossa, the Germans had incorporated some of the vehicles seized in Poland, and conscripted from their own civilian population - they could have used more Austins and Renaults. Overall the 42 million French were a motorized society, having more vehicles pre-war on French roads than Germany (78 million) and Italy (43 million) combined - 2,269,000 vehicles vs. 1,656,000 + 372,000. Despite Autobahns and Autostrade, part of the problem for Germany was that Germans relied heavily on their excellent railway system; the Italian's on their merchant marine. I'm not talking about using every Parisian taxi, but there was a great deal of slack, compared to Germany and Italy, and French commercial vehicles in German military livery, would not be that dissimilar from those "Typ S" already in service. They have to be used, or available to follow the early breakthrough in 1941, not later.

          It may be argued that there is a plethora of types, and subtypes, which amount to a logistics nightmare up above, the Germans did make use of a variety of captured equipment - nightmare notwithstanding. Likewise, while it's true that many captured armaments, vehicles and components found themselves in various roles in the East later in the war, as I've shown, they were available in 1941, and not used, although they would be pressed into service later.

          Lastly, where transport is concerned are the railways:

          This is actually more important, because the Ost-Heer never did have enough automotive transport to move its armour to the front; they relied on the rails because they had to.

          It was well known that railway track laid in the USSR, Finland, Latvia and Estonia was 5' broadgage, compared to track in Germany, Rumania, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland which was Central European gauge - 4'8 1/2". Again, poor staff work allowed logistical problems to occur. The troops operating the railways or Eisenbahntruppe were inadequate to the task, and civilian railway personnel from the Reichsbahn were brought in that 1st winter, which helped a great deal. For "S.o.B." the Eisenbahntruppe have to be moved into Rumania with the first German troops to maximise their railway system. The Reichsbahn under Rail Transport Minister Dorpmüller has to be given authority over the Soviet railways as soon as seized, with the full support of Organization Todt, to the point that Hiwis are drafted for local labour, and projects in the West delayed. Track, sidings, turntables, repair shops and railway facilities including North/South lines must be converted, C.E. locomotives and rolling stock prepped for the more demanding service in the East, spares and proper fuel coal provided.

          Fuel:
          More, and more demanding vehicles, means a larger fuel requirement. Despite the campaigns in Scandinavia, the Low Countries and France, and the Battle of Britain, Germany finished 1940 by adding to her fuel surplus:

          Year End Military Stocks by Type - 1940, in ,000 Metric tons: aviation fuel (+102, to 613,), auto petrol/gasoline (+319, to 599,), and diesel (+146, to 296,) increased in 1940. Plus overall production increased in 1941:

          Overall Annual German Production by Source in ,000 Metric Tons:

          1940 - Home crude - 1,465, Home Synthetic, 3,348, Import, 2,075,
          Total, 6,888, Used in Year, 5,856.

          1941 - Home crude - 1,562, Home Synthetic, 4,116, Import, 2,807,
          Total, 8,485, Used in Year, 7,305.

          In short, despite Barbarossa and a decrease in military stocks, overall Germany showed a surplus of almost 1,200,000 metric tons of oil production at the end of 1941 - Germany was not without oil. What's of even more importance, before the opening of hostilities with the USSR, a major oil producer still an ally of sorts, and trading partner, further stock piling can still occur in 1940-41 i.e. before initiating "S.o.B.", to take control of those oil producing assets. Production of high quality, wide temperature variation engine and chassis lubricants must be stressed from those oil imports, as they are sometimes hard to produce from synthetic oil. This can be manufactured in Germany; should Stalin ask why? Because conditions in French and British Africa can be hard on engines (wink) - that's what Stalin wants to hear anyway.

          "Saddled with an unduly harsh and unnecessary "Lebensraum" occupation policy"

          I was going to deal with this first, but the more time you spend on it the less important it becomes. I had intended on Nazi Germany waging a political war over communism, using the anti-Stalin sympathy in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, and court nationalists and anti-Communists like Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko to set up independent states within the German sphere much like Slovakia. Also I'd intended on using Soviet prisoners to harvest Ukrainian wheat to keep the locals happy, before converting them against their former Soviets masters and using them en masse as per Vlasov's Russian Liberation Movement. First, whether or not all that can occur within a scenario involving Hitler is debatable, despite acting on accurate intelligence on the USSR. I mention this only in passing, I don't believe any of it is necessary for "S.o.B.".

          I have no intention of being cold-hearted but ultimately neither Lebensraum, nor the Final Solution caused the Barbarossa assault to fail. The prolongation of their war against the Soviets brought their Lebensraum policy back to haunt the Germans, the persecution of Jewish scientists was partly responsible for ultimately giving the A-Bomb to the US, but by then Germany was out of the war. Neither was a problem in 1941, even less so for "S.o.B.", the quick knockout punch originally intended for Barbarossa. Later occupation may be a problem, but that isn't of "S.o.B."s concern. Partisan activity was relatively light, before the realities of German policy and occupation set in, even then Partisans often faced extinction at the hands of the Ukrainians. Some 50% of all partisans were party or Komsomol members ordered to stay behind, and were considered alien by the local rural populations (as were Red Army stragglers), which in many instances exterminated them. In any case, in this, the early phase of the German-Soviet war, partisans weren't yet trained in irregular warfare and the Wehrmacht found it relatively easy to wipe them out. Even as late as Feb. 1942 there were only about 20 Partisan attacks/month over the whole railway system under German occupation, compared to 730 later in Sept. - "S.o.B." should be completed long before the Partisans make themselves felt.

          "a true strategic objective", "a willingness to negotiate to accomplish limited goals"

          Stalin himself stated, right or wrong, that 75% of the Soviet armament industry was concentrated in the area of Leningrad, Moscow and Kiev and that a 150 mile advance to the east of these areas "might" cripple the USSR. I'm not going to argue strategy here; Moscow vs. Leningrad, Kiev, Baku, the Urals themselves or all of the above. The object is to improve the Ost-Heer's ability to achieve those goals to outright defeat the USSR, and within 1941, early 1942 and/or have an alternative.

          The alternative: "limited goals" is a negotiated settlement, using Bulgaria, perfectly suited as an intermediary. The minimum German requirement would be the terms negotiated in the Brest-Litovsk, Russo-German Peace Treaty of 1918, which the victors of the war in the West had declared void, but which German leaders prior to Hitler had aspired to, but Hitler had relinquished after the Polish campaign. Stalin would recognize a measure of legitimacy here (they'd been negotiated and accepted by Lenin), plus in July 1941 Stalin summoned Bulgarian envoy Stamenov and offered similar terms to Hitler, but the Bulgarians refused to make the overtures. If accepted, you have to wonder what the ensuing peace, or likely later continuation of hostilities would be like. In any case, "S.o.B." would be validated.

          I know this is a best case scenario, with the benefit of retrospection. But in execution and planning Barbarossa had nothing in common with Overlord, yet it could be argued was an even larger, riskier endeavour. It can also be argued that the German General Staff was the best in the world; if Barbarossa doesn't resemble Overlord, then it should have, and certainly could have.

          Up
          "I am Groot"
          - Groot

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          • #6
            What the Germans really needed in Russia was....



            And



            That would have allowed them to fix the roads, make new roads, and made a huge difference even rebuilding the rail system. The decrease in wastage of equipment and increased life of trucks moving supplies alone would have paid back many times what the equipment cost.
            Mechanizing construction troops even to a limited degree would have reduced the need for masses of manpower doing hand labor. One bulldozer could do the work of hundreds of laborers with picks and shovels.

            One US Army engineer battalion with an attached equipment company, or a single Navy CB battalion (about 1100 men) could do the work of all the construction troops attached to a Wehrmacht field army (say roughly 10,000 + men).

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            • #7
              Yep, ...

              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              What the Germans really needed in Russia was....



              And



              That would have allowed them to fix the roads, make new roads, and made a huge difference even rebuilding the rail system. The decrease in wastage of equipment and increased life of trucks moving supplies alone would have paid back many times what the equipment cost.
              Mechanizing construction troops even to a limited degree would have reduced the need for masses of manpower doing hand labor. One bulldozer could do the work of hundreds of laborers with picks and shovels.

              One US Army engineer battalion with an attached equipment company, or a single Navy CB battalion (about 1100 men) could do the work of all the construction troops attached to a Wehrmacht field army (say roughly 10,000 + men).
              ... Jimmys and Caterpillars sure beats the hell outta commandeering Panje carts and Babushkas, besides the latter can get cranky.



              "I am Groot"
              - Groot

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              • #8
                Beats the hell out of how the Germans did things...



                Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 08 Oct 16, 12:26.

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                • #9
                  Er, ...

                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  Beats the hell out of how the Germans did things...



                  ... I was referring to the Germans.
                  "I am Groot"
                  - Groot

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                  • #10
                    Smaller strategic goals would certainly have helped.

                    Even Stalin wasn't thinking in terms of going all the way to the Rhine in the first rush. The Soviet offensive ideas of 1941 were limited to the Balkans, Poland and East Prussia. What we now know about their logistical ability in that year make even that seem optimistic, but nothing like what happened when German planning met the reality of what was on the ground in Russia.
                    "Why is the Rum gone?"

                    -Captain Jack

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Marmat View Post
                      ... I was referring to the Germans.
                      I know. I just wanted to pile on some more!

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                      • #12
                        Even more!

                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        I know. I just wanted to pile on some more!
                        "I am Groot"
                        - Groot

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          ...
                          One US Army engineer battalion with an attached equipment company, or a single Navy CB battalion (about 1100 men) could do the work of all the construction troops attached to a Wehrmacht field army (say roughly 10,000 + men).
                          This must have a lot to do with why we win.
                          IIRC, that also had a lot to do with why the Union won, back in the ACW.

                          The Americans took a hell of a beating in the Revolution and 1812 by being poorly equipped, even in the early Indian campaigns this was a crippling defect. We learned and have different priorities than, for example, the Prussian Army that became the German Army.
                          "Why is the Rum gone?"

                          -Captain Jack

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                          • #14
                            minor point but wasnt the much maligned 3.7cm PAK more than enough to deal with 50 % or so of the russian tanks like BT=5/7 and T-26 ? so it many ways it was a underrated weapon which in the early stages could we have knocked out a huge % of russian tanks

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nastle View Post
                              minor point but wasnt the much maligned 3.7cm PAK more than enough to deal with 50 % or so of the russian tanks like BT=5/7 and T-26 ? so it many ways it was a underrated weapon which in the early stages could we have knocked out a huge % of russian tanks
                              It was, and in the grand scheme of things it really didn't matter......rarely does a technical defect decide a whole war.

                              That being said, I always thought it was a bit near-sighted of the Germans to go with the 37mm PaK and KwK to begin with, period. By the time the PzIII was in full development, there were already several tanks in development or production which would be known to be resistant or proof to 37mm fire along a significant portion of their armor at reasonable battle ranges and angles.

                              Declining to produce the 37mm in quantity and instead moving up to the 50mm PaK and KwK would have given them some small HE capability on their AT guns (something that was a problem with smaller AT guns, the 2lbder comes to mind as being a halfway decent AT gun but worthless if there wasn't a tank about) and given them an edge in armor penetration over all existing tank models.....they were already producing a 75mm short gun, and there were 47mm guns in production elsewhere, so the 50mm gun wouldn't have precipitated an armor race.
                              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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