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The Russian Battle of the Buldge

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  • The Russian Battle of the Buldge

    I have always wondered this, and thought I might ask you guys your opinions on the matter.

    In December of 1944, Hitler launched an offensive againt the allies in a what was to be called the Battle of the Buldge. It was, in the end, a failure.

    So what if Hitler () had instead used those forces against the Soviets ()? What if all those King Tiger tanks in the German arsenal had been used in more open terrain in Poland, perhaps to blunt a Russian bridge crossing or to counter-attack a Russian offensive?

    Of course, it would be nearly impossible for the Germans to win the war late in 1944, but could the Germans have delayed the inevitable? Could they have forced the US to take more German territory instead of the Soviets?

    And wouldn't it be cool to see a King Tiger take on a IS-II?

  • #2
    I think i would have to go with the argument that it would have been a wasted effort in the east. By late 44 the Red Army would have easily handled the 25 odd divisions the Germans made available. In the the Ardennes the Germans did as well as they did for the first week because they hit a soft spot, in bad weather, in close country and had the element of surprise.

    Even with all these benefits the material advantage (numbers) was gone by the third day as US divisions (four of them armoured) began moving from north and south. After that it was only a matter of checking the advance and then rolling it back.

    In the east, when facing the technically superior Red Army (in comparison to US and British forces) with no real chance for surprise, no temporary material advantage and in more open country the Germans would most likely not have done as well. Pz IVs, Vs and VIs as well as their assault gun and TD variants could be handled by Red Army equipment and killed on more equal terms,...the Germans had lost the advantage technology had given them in 1943 and verly in 1944.
    The Purist

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

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    • #3
      Let's not forget that the Ardennes Offensive was a very localised affair on the West Front. On the East Front, where vastly more forces were deployed, it would have been little more than a pin prick even if it attained a similar level of success in its opening three days. The battles around Budapest and Vienna in 1945 offer up an indication of how futile a 'Bulge' type offensive in December 1944 on the Eastern Front would have been. Hitler knew that his only hope of rectifying the desperate position Germany found itself in was to split the unnatural (in his mind) alliance ranged against her. Attacking in the West offered up the only real hope (in Hitler's mind) of achieving this, no matter how remote that hope actually was.
      Signing out.

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      • #4
        I'm thinking sending those divisions east instead of west would be like pissing into a stream (not necessarily a river)... sure there are some ripples and splashes, but the current isn't changed one bit.
        If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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        • #5
          I would concurr witht the grapic view of Chrisvalla here.

          look for the German offensive in Hungary to see the effects... very little.

          now, if that offensive would be done in a limited sector, say to relieve a surrounded city, or in a pincer movement to surround a Russian bridghead or corps, it might end up doing that. eliminating a few tens of thousand Russian troops. but the Soviet army had more than 10 million troops and vast amount of tanks and aircraft to countre attack.

          sure, it may have delayed the war in the east by a few days, perhaps a week.

          in all cases, the separation line between east and western allies was already in the process of beeing drawn up.

          also, the battle of the Buldge/Ardennes did not stop the Western allied advance (they were all stopped and exhausted after the battles in Holland for the BRitish/canadians and Patton's 3rd army was all but exhausted too after it's dificult drive through Lorraine.... (PAtton's real feat here is to turn it's army and move it north to relieve Bastogne, etc.) but overall, it would not have accelerated the subsequant British/US offensives in Germany (to the Rhine and to the Rhur)
          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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          • #6
            Isn't there a TAOW scenario based on that? rings a bell...maybe its a modern one though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chrisvalla View Post
              I'm thinking sending those divisions east instead of west would be like pissing into a stream (not necessarily a river)... sure there are some ripples and splashes, but the current isn't changed one bit.
              I agree completely. By winter of 1944, Germany had no hope of victory. The soldiers of the Third Reich fought because they were told (and could convince themselves) that they might get a settled peace, get peace with the UK/US and resume the war with Russia, it was their homes in danger, or even just to buy the Allies more time to grab German terrirtory and let German civilians escape to the allied lines before the Russians got there (or a mix of the above).

              But I always asked myself if the lack of a German offensive into the Allied lines have convinced the Allies to try and push into Germany faster? Might the Americans have let Montgomery and/or Patton try a run for Berlin?

              From what I remember, Eisenhower was not to eager to get involved in a hard and costly fight for more German territory with the end so near, and thats why near the end the Allied troops were used cautiously. But if the Germans had, lets say, scored a minor victory against the Soviets with the tanks (unlikely, but who knows) or delayed the Russian advance on Berlin with the reserves, might Eisenhower have been forced to attempt a try?

              You know, the whole 'Lets drop the Paratroopers on Berlin' idea!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post

                But I always asked myself if the lack of a German offensive into the Allied lines have convinced the Allies to try and push into Germany faster? Might the Americans have let Montgomery and/or Patton try a run for Berlin?

                From what I remember, Eisenhower was not to eager to get involved in a hard and costly fight for more German territory with the end so near, and thats why near the end the Allied troops were used cautiously. But if the Germans had, lets say, scored a minor victory against the Soviets with the tanks (unlikely, but who knows) or delayed the Russian advance on Berlin with the reserves, might Eisenhower have been forced to attempt a try?
                There might have been some pressure from Montgomery to allow him to launch a 'narrow thrust' at Berlin but I doubt it would have been approved. Ike's strategy was to take the Ruhr industrial area because it was believed that this would force Germany to surrender. This was, after all, why Market-Garden was approved because that would, theoretically at least, have allowed elements of 21st AG to sweep into the region, knocking out German productive capacity and cutting off any German troops still defending the Western frontier - Bingo! The war ends at Christmas 1944! (allegedly ). There was also some concern that German troops might establish a 'Bavarian Redoubt' and Ike was certainly not going to allow that to happen. In the end there seems little interest from the Americans in taking Berlin, especially given the agreements made with the Soviets, and since they were by far the dominant partner in the West come 1945 I don't see the British being able to raise enough clout to change their minds.
                Signing out.

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