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Barbarossa 1941: Leningrad is no longer a major Goal

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  • Barbarossa 1941: Leningrad is no longer a major Goal

    Hitler falls in and decides that making a bid for Leningrad is extravagant. He removes it as the major goal for the northern army group.

    Moscow and Kiev retain primary status. What happens next and how will the invasion forces be organized? How will the Fins react?

  • #2
    The Germans could form a larger reserve and beef up the two pz groups headed towards Smolensk and Kiev somewhat. However, the rail net can still only handle so much tonnage and no more. AG Centre will still slow and stop in front of the Soviet reserves, AG South may do better against Southwest front.

    If the Germans cannibalise the transports from a weakened AG North they can replace losses in the centre and improve the situation to a certain degree but supplies still relied on trains, not trucks.

    Hmmmm, come to think of it, if the Germans try to plug in Pz Group 4 in the centre it would probably just collapse the supply chain earlier so that's probably a bust. A pz corps could still accompany AG North with other corps in reserve or used to strengthen AG South. Pz Group 4 was not that powerful so the addition of a single corps elsewhere will not be decisive.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.


    • #3
      No Leningrad

      I would have advanced to Narva and promptly dug into a defensive line, shoring up my supply/communications and forward airfields. The line would have run southward via the Narvajogi River, Lake Pskov, to Pskov town.

      Along with closing off the Baltic Sea the only offensive maneuvers in the north would have been simple but effective in keeping Soviet Troops tied down.

      All resources used in the real-time Battle Of Leningrad would have been thrown into the Center and South army groups.


      • #4

        That raises a good point. A heavy attack must be launched in the north to prtect the left flank of AG centre. Otherwise, a long exposed salient is created. Not good.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.


        • #5
          I think AGN can be formed as in the OTL and proceed as in the OTL for just under 30 days, which secures Pskov and the Baltics as well as the approaches to Leningrad. In that short span much is gained to include a solid flank for AGC, the Baltics and the dispalcement of the Soviet Baltic Fleet. The road and rail net are much better than the rest of the Soviet Union and mobile forces/heavy weapons can then be shifted to join AGC as Smolensk heats up. A reasonable German force needs to remain active in order to make this happen:

          If the plan is for a greater sized AGC in this version of Barbarossa, OKH is required to add more assets to its rail conversion crews. A huge issue with Barbarossa in the OTL is German Army railway personnel running things and not the DR (Deutsches Reichsbahn) Admin office. If OKH relinquished planning and control of the rail to the proper authorities then perhaps the supply issue is eased to the point where the Germans don't have to pause at Smolensk.
          "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


          • #6
            A few points:

            1. When exactly does Hitler decide to bypass Leningrad?

            2. Where does he stop?

            3. First of all, the Finns will have very slim chances of advancing to any reasonable distance into the Soviet borders. Quite probably, their greatest success would be the capture of Vyborg, but they won't advance much further. In OTL, the commanders of the NW Front kept pulling units from the Karelian Isthmus and Karelia in order to feed more troops to defend the main direction of the enemy offensive - from Pskov to Leningrad. Second, Leningrad will not be forced to evacuate its factories in haste and the remaining factories will work to full capacity, producing weapons and ammunition. The hastily built Luga and Krasnogvardeisk Defensive Regions held up the Germans by about 3 weeks each, which means that with more time they'll be reinforced much better and defended by more troops with more materiel which wouldn't be lost in encirclements. Even the green People's Militia Divisions will have more time to train, or they'll be substituted by regular army reinforcements from the reserves. Basically, time was of the essense: it was Leningrad now or never. Third, there was no way the The Red Army forces which stay in the Leningrad area, are going to sit with their hands down: check the battles of Soltsy and Staraya Russa.

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour


            • #7
              I agree with ShAA. In the Alternate scenario, the Germans would still need 16th and 18th Army to hold a defensive line (I'm assuming they stop in the beginning of August, along a line roughly: Narva-River Luga-Soltsy-Starya Russia-Velkhi Luki). AG-North would need some armored reserve, so the only extra forces available to AGC would be a depleted Panzer group.
              On the other hand, given that the terrain along the approaches to Leningrad favours the defender, it would free up a larger amount of Red Army formations which might have been enough to shatter AGC'S flank during the Red Army's winter offensive.


              • #8
                The Narva line sounds reasonable, freeing up many divisions until the Center advances.

                PzGruppe 4 was the weakest PzGruppe with 2 x Mot. Korps. Historically AGN only had 0-3 mobile divisions (almost all the time) after 1941.

                In ATL they could lose an entire mot. Korps to either the Center or the South. They would lose 2 x Infantry Korps as well.


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