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Old February 28th, 2007, 02:18 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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PoD – Battle of Kursk (version 2.0)

This is my second go at this Point of Departure.

Any comments welcome
-----------------------------
Part 1 – A Change of Mind

In the winter of 1942–1943 the Soviets conclusively won the Battle of Stalingrad. One complete German army had been lost, along with about 500,000 Germans and Axis allies, seriously depleting the Axis strength in the east. With an Allied invasion of Europe clearly looming, Hitler realized that an outright defeat of the Soviets before the western Allies arrived had become unlikely, and he decided to force the Soviets to a draw.

In February and March 1943 German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had completed an offensive during the Third Battle of Kharkov, leaving the front line running roughly from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. In the middle lay a large 200 km wide and 150 km deep Soviet-held salient (bulge) in the lines between German forward positions near Orel in the north, and Manstein's recently captured Kharkov in the south.

Von Manstein presses for a new offensive based on the same successful lines as he had just pursued at Kharkov, when he cut off an overextended Soviet offensive. He suggested tricking the Soviets into attacking in the south against the desperately re-forming 6.Armee, leading them into the Donets Basin in the eastern Ukraine. He would then turn south from Kharkov on the eastern side of the Donets River towards Rostov and trap the entire southern wing of the Red Army against the Sea of Azov.

OKH did not approve von Manstein's plan, and instead turned their attention to the obvious bulge in the lines between Orel and Kharkov. Three whole Soviet armies occupied the ground in and around the salient, and pinching it off would trap almost a fifth of the Red Army's manpower. It would also result in a much straighter and shorter line, and capture the strategically useful railway town of Kursk located on the main north-south railway line running from Rostov to Moscow.

In March the plans crystallized. Walther Model's 9th Armee would attack southwards from Orel while Hoth's 4th Panzer-Armee and Armee-Abteilung "Kempf" under the overall command of Manstein would attack northwards from Kharkov. They planned to meet near Kursk, but if the offensive went well they would have permission to continue forward on their own initiative, with a general plan to create a new line at the Don River far to the east.

Contrary to his recent behaviour, Hitler gave the General Staff considerable control over the planning of the battle. Over the next few weeks, they continued to increase the scope of the forces attached to the front, stripping the entire German line of practically anything remotely useful for deployment in the upcoming battle. Hitler first set the attack for May 4th, but then delayed it until June 12th, and again on the July 4th but on the 4th July Hitler did not order the attack to begin on and on the 9th July Hitler ordered the attack to be cancelled for no apparent reason.

The reasons for Hitler cancelling the attack are unknown, but it proved very timely, for the following two reasons.

1. Allies invaded Sicily on July 10th Operation Husky had started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland along with the XIV Panzer Corps to support the defence of Sicily with more reinforcements to follow as they became available.

2. When Stalin ordered his army’s to attack it was against the German army on the defensive, with a very effective mobile reserve available. The main thrust of the Russian attack was towards Orel in the north and Kharkov in the south.

Stalin though various spies had learned of the planned attack by the German army and the cancelling of the attack on Kursk by Hitler on the 8th July. When the Russian armies attacked they were met by very strong defensive fire from the German defenders. With the new Tiger tanks and the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant although these tanks were not mechanically reliable when used in the attack but when used defensively they proved decisive in winning the battle of Kursk along with the normal Panzer 4’s and the German still had the advantage of manoeuvre over the Russian army.

When the Russian attack had run out of steam at the end of August 1943, the German army launched a series of probing counter attacks against the Russian line. These attacks proved to be very successful and lead to a full scale counter attack and by the end of September 1943 the German front line had been shortened also the city of Kursk had been captured.

The German army had taken a heavy body blow but had remained in-tacked. Also the German army engineers were able to repair a quite number of their tanks that had been knocked out but not destroyed back into operation thus adding to the German army tank reserve. The German tank losses were 50% and when the front line stabilised the Germans would have a much shorter frontline than at the beginning of the battle this would help create a mobile strategic reserve.

The Russian army having taken 1,550,000 casualties and lost 80% of their armour were forced in to retreat by the German counter attack. The heavy casualties was due to the fact that the armour having out run the infantry got shot to pieces by the German tanks and anti tank defences. So when the infantry did attack it was without armour support and ended up like World War 1 infantry attacks the slaughter of the Russian infantry was horrific.

A very happy Hitler would give Field Marshal Erich von Manstein command of the newly created OB East mirroring Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt OB West. This would prove useful thought 1944 and into 1945.

Down South


The Allies invaded Sicily on July 10 in Operation Husky started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division, the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland and the 26th Panzer Division to support the defence of Sicily but these reinforcements would not arrive for some time.

Already on Sicily were the following divisions 15th Panzer grenadier Division and the Herman Goring Division. This would be followed by the 1st Panzer Division that was refitting in northern Italy on the German Italian boarder, along with the 29th Panzergrenadier Division and the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland would become part of the XIV Panzer Corps en route from the east.

The fighting for Sicily would see the British and American forces have the upper hand, and by the end of July the German and Italian defenders had retreated, forming a large arc from Lentini in the south though Valguarnera and up to San Stefano in the north of the island.

By the time the defensive line had been formed at the end of August the reinforcements had arrived. The plan was to attack with the XIV Panzer Corps between the British and American forces and cut them in two. To draw off as much of the American forces as possible a dummy attack would be launched pretending to try and take back the town of Caltanissetta with the 15th Panzergrenadier Division and the 26th Panzer Division.

The attack was a success and the British forces were forced to evacuate the island followed by the Americans, as their southern flank was totally gone. Even with overwhelming air power the Allies knew that is was now a matter of time before further German reinforcements would arrive after the Germans success at Kursk. It was thought that these troops could be better used for the invasion of France which was due to happen in 1944.

By the end of 1943 the Southern front was stable, with Kursk captured and Sicily secure and Italy still in the war on the German’s side.

After moping up operations the XIV Panzer Corps with the 1st Panzer Division along with the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland would be withdrawn to the south of France for rest and refitting in early 1944.

The remaining divisions would remain in Italy to provide security and to make sure that the Italians did not surrender.

To be continued......

Next – Part 2 – Interlude
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  #2  
Old February 28th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Max Sinister Max Sinister is offline
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The Soviets suffer losses of 1.5 million people? That seems damn high.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 02:33 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Originally Posted by Max Sinister View Post
The Soviets suffer losses of 1.5 million people? That seems damn high.
Hi Max,

Was just testing
The figure is too high the 1.5 million is for the total number of russian troops not losses..... woops.
Will correct well spotted

Thanks
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Old February 28th, 2007, 02:46 PM
Wozza Wozza is offline
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It's quite hard to see the Allies being pushed off Sicily. They do have both 5th and 8th Armies, and various reserve assets such as airborne formations.

It's also worth considering that no German offensive, apart from the Bulge attack, makes any progress against the western allies after 1942. The British had learnt to stop German armour dead by the time of the fighting in Tunisia, and again later in Normandy.

It's interesting to wonder what would have happened on the Eastern Front withhout Kursk. But this isn't 1941 or 1942.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Calgacus Calgacus is offline
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Originally Posted by Wozza View Post
It's quite hard to see the Allies being pushed off Sicily. They do have both 5th and 8th Armies, and various reserve assets such as airborne formations.

It's also worth considering that no German offensive, apart from the Bulge attack, makes any progress against the western allies after 1942. The British had learnt to stop German armour dead by the time of the fighting in Tunisia, and again later in Normandy.
Which was largely due to Allied air superiority - I suppose it depends how much in the way of Luftwaffe units the Germans are prepared to send to Sicily.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 03:29 PM
Wozza Wozza is offline
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Which was largely due to Allied air superiority - I suppose it depends how much in the way of Luftwaffe units the Germans are prepared to send to Sicily.
Certainly not in Tunisia, where the main issue was dug in anti-tank guns. Realistically one would wonder about Normandy too.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 04:37 PM
nemo1986 nemo1986 is offline
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Originally Posted by Wozza View Post
It's quite hard to see the Allies being pushed off Sicily. They do have both 5th and 8th Armies, and various reserve assets such as airborne formations.

It's also worth considering that no German offensive, apart from the Bulge attack, makes any progress against the western allies after 1942. The British had learnt to stop German armour dead by the time of the fighting in Tunisia, and again later in Normandy.

It's interesting to wonder what would have happened on the Eastern Front withhout Kursk. But this isn't 1941 or 1942.
I just reviewed operation husky on wiki. from what I read the Italians were suffering even worse moral plus used substandard equipment. the only way this could happen is if monty's idiotic plan to reshift the attack had even worse consequences but I do not think it is possible to force a retreat. but the forces their while outnumbering the allies I do not believe that it was possible to defeat husky. militarywise Italy sucked in every way possible even with the 40,000 nazi troops they were crappy and could not hold for long. why do you think they were called the soft underbelly. So delay yes defeat snowball's chance in hell.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Calgacus Calgacus is offline
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Originally Posted by Wozza View Post
Certainly not in Tunisia, where the main issue was dug in anti-tank guns. Realistically one would wonder about Normandy too.
The battle of the Bulge was conducted in poor weather specifically so the Allied planes would be grounded. Once the weather cleared, the German armour got pounded. Admittedly the offensive stalled for other reasons as well, but you shouldn't discount the value of air superiority, even in Normandy, where it was vital for Allied success. Even with it, it took them an inordinately long time to break out. If the Germans had enjoyed anything near parity, what do you think would have happened there? Tunisia is not the best example, as the German High Command didn't prioritise it very highly. Having said that, they probably wouldn't have prioritised Sicily either, given that they would have been confident of stalling the Allies in either Sicily or the mainland for quite some time, as indeed they did.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:56 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Hi all

Thanks for all the great feedback please keep it coming
I will try and post an updated version of part 1 tomorrow.

Again thanks
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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:01 AM
Hyperion Hyperion is offline
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There is no practical way, EVER, for the Germans to bring that many reinforcements to Sicily. Simply impossible. The Germans only had 40,000 troops in Sicily to begin with. Once the Italians surrendered 15 days into the fighting when Patton captured Palermo, that was it. The Germans could NEVER hold the island by themselves.

Check your history, and it will tell you the same thing. Bringing in that much heavy stuff in time to stop the allies Can. Not. Happen.

You seem to have no idea of what the Germans would be up against. Read the OOB for the allies. A German victory is impossible, no matter how many ways you slice it, especially when the Allies capture the souther airfields and achieve air superiority.

I would urge you to abandon whatever notion you have that Sicily coud be held by the Germans. Please.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:47 AM
Communist Wizard Communist Wizard is offline
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Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
There is no practical way, EVER, for the Germans to bring that many reinforcements to Sicily. Simply impossible. The Germans only had 40,000 troops in Sicily to begin with. Once the Italians surrendered 15 days into the fighting when Patton captured Palermo, that was it. The Germans could NEVER hold the island by themselves.

Check your history, and it will tell you the same thing. Bringing in that much heavy stuff in time to stop the allies Can. Not. Happen.

You seem to have no idea of what the Germans would be up against. Read the OOB for the allies. A German victory is impossible, no matter how many ways you slice it, especially when the Allies capture the souther airfields and achieve air superiority.

I would urge you to abandon whatever notion you have that Sicily coud be held by the Germans. Please.
Why is this such a big deal? It's not like this really counts, but you are saying that if he doesn't correct it something bad will happen. Weird...
Anyway, good TL. I'd like to see a continuation.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:57 AM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Any comments welcome.

Part 1 – A Change of Mind (second version)


In the winter of 1942–1943 the Soviets conclusively won the Battle of Stalingrad. One complete German army had been lost, along with about 500,000 Germans and Axis allies, seriously depleting the Axis strength in the east. With an Allied invasion of Europe clearly looming, Hitler realized that an outright defeat of the Soviets before the western Allies arrived had become unlikely, and he decided to force the Soviets to a draw.

In February and March 1943 German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had completed an offensive during the Third Battle of Kharkov, leaving the front line running roughly from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. In the middle lay a large 200 km wide and 150 km deep Soviet-held salient (bulge) in the lines between German forward positions near Orel in the north, and Manstein's recently captured Kharkov in the south.

Von Manstein presses for a new offensive based on the same successful lines as he had just pursued at Kharkov, when he cut off an overextended Soviet offensive. He suggested tricking the Soviets into attacking in the south against the desperately re-forming 6th Armee, leading them into the Donets Basin in the eastern Ukraine. He would then turn south from Kharkov on the eastern side of the Donets River towards Rostov and trap the entire southern wing of the Red Army against the Sea of Azov.

OKH did not approve von Manstein's plan, and instead turned their attention to the obvious bulge in the lines between Orel and Kharkov. Three whole Soviet armies occupied the ground in and around the salient, and pinching it off would trap almost a fifth of the Red Army's manpower. It would also result in a much straighter and shorter line, and capture the strategically useful railway town of Kursk located on the main north-south railway line running from Rostov to Moscow.

In March the plans crystallized. Walther Model's 9th Armee would attack southwards from Orel while Hoth's 4th Panzer-Armee and Armee-Abteilung "Kempf" under the overall command of Manstein would attack northwards from Kharkov. They planned to meet near Kursk, but if the offensive went well they would have permission to continue forward on their own initiative, with a general plan to create a new line at the Don River far to the east.

Contrary to his recent behaviour, Hitler gave the General Staff considerable control over the planning of the battle. Over the next few weeks, they continued to increase the scope of the forces attached to the front, stripping the entire German line of practically anything remotely useful for deployment in the upcoming battle. Hitler first set the attack for May 4th, but then delayed it until June 12th, and again on the July 4th but on the 4th July Hitler did not order the attack to begin on and on the 9th July Hitler ordered the attack to be cancelled for no apparent reason.

The reasons for Hitler cancelling the attack are unknown, but it proved very timely, for the following two reasons.

1. Allies invaded Sicily on July 10th Operation Husky had started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland along with the XIV Panzer Corps to support the defence of Sicily with more reinforcements to follow as they became available.

2. When Stalin ordered his army’s to attack it was against the German army on the defensive, with a very effective mobile reserve available. The main thrust of the Russian attack was towards Orel in the north and Kharkov in the south.

Stalin though various spies had learned of the planned attack by the German army and the cancelling of the attack on Kursk by Hitler on the 8th July. When the Russian armies attacked they were met by very strong defensive fire from the German defenders. With the new Tiger tanks and the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant although these tanks were not mechanically reliable when used in the attack but when used defensively they proved decisive in winning the battle of Kursk along with the normal Panzer 4’s and the German still had the advantage of manoeuvre over the Russian army.

When the Russian attack had run out of steam at the end of August 1943, the German army launched a series of probing counter attacks against the Russian line. These attacks proved to be very successful and lead to a full scale counter attack and by the end of September 1943 the German front line had been shortened also the city of Kursk had been captured.

The German army had taken a heavy body blow but had remained in-tacked. Also the German army engineers were able to repair a quite number of their tanks that had been knocked out but not destroyed back into operation thus adding to the German army tank reserve. The German tank losses were 50% and when the front line stabilised the Germans would have a much shorter frontline than at the beginning of the battle this would help create a mobile strategic reserve.

The Russian army having taken 550,000 casualties and lost 80% of their armour were forced in to retreat by the German counter attacks. The heavy casualties was due to the fact that the armour having out run the infantry got shot to pieces by the German tanks and anti tank defences. So when the Russian infantry did attack it was without armour support and ended up like World War 1 infantry attacks the slaughter of the Russian infantry was horrific.

The Russian army was unlikely to launch another major offensive for quit a while this gave the German army time to rebuild its strength for the next round.

This victory for the Germans would also release a number of German divisions as a reserve force that not only could be used on the Russian front but other potential fronts as well.

A very happy Hitler would give Field Marshal Erich von Manstein command of the newly created OB East mirroring Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt OB West. This new command would prove useful thought 1944 and into 1945.

Down South


The Allies invaded Sicily on July 10 in Operation Husky had started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division, the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland and the 26th Panzer Division to support the defence of Sicily but these reinforcements would not arrive for some time.

Already on Sicily were the following divisions 15th Panzer grenadier Division and the Herman Goring Division. This would be followed by the 1st Panzer Division that was refitting in northern Italy on the German Italian boarder, along with the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland would become part of the XIV Panzer Corps en route from the east.

There were already several other German infantry divisions available in Sicily as well as the Panzer and Panzer grenadier divisions. Also allocated were the flowing divisions 3rd Panzer grenadier Division (forming) 16th Panzer grenadier Division and the 90th Panzer grenadier Division along with the SS-Inf.Bde “RFSS” (in transit). These additional reinforcements would not be formed into new Corp’s but inserted into the front line with the Italian troops to give the Italian division’s additional strength.

The fighting for Sicily would see the British and American forces have the upper hand, and by the end of July the German and Italian defenders had retreated, forming a large arc from Lentini in the south though Valguarnera and up to San Stefano in the north of the island.

By the time the defensive line had been formed at the end of August the first wave of reinforcements had arrived with more arriving as the days went by. The plan was to attack with the XIV Panzer Corps between the British and American forces and cut them in two. To draw off as much of the American forces as possible a dummy attack would be launched pretending to try and take back the town of Caltanissetta with the 15th Panzer grenadier Division and the 26th Panzer Division at the same time the Italian forces along with the German troops supporting them would also launch a series of diversion attacks against the British front lines.

The reinforcements along with a considerable boost on German moral after the victory at Kursk and the Germans knowing that they would be receiving additional reinforcements from the eastern front that in the long term would provide a numerical superiority to the allies.

The growing number of anti aircraft batteries that were also being deployed by not only the Germans but the around the Straits of Messina providing considerable coved for the Axis troops crossing over to Sicily and also providing some protection from Allied air power which had to either come from Malta or North Africa so the Allies had to maintain patrols over or near the front lines.

The Luftwaffe did make some appearances but the cover was patchy at best but when the Luftwaffe did manage got provide assistance it did make a difference.

The attack was a success though it did cost the German and Italians and the British forces were forced to evacuate the island followed by the Americans, as their southern flank was totally gone. Even with overwhelming air power the Allies knew that is was now a matter of time before further German reinforcements would arrive after the Germans success at Kursk. It was thought by Allied command that these troops could be better used for the invasion of France that was due to happen in 1944.

By the end of 1943 the Southern front was stable, with Kursk captured and Sicily secure and Italy still in the war on the German’s side.

After moping up operations the XIV Panzer Corps with the 1st Panzer Division along with the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland would be withdrawn to the south of France for rest and refitting in early 1944.

The remaining German divisions would remain in Italy to provide security and to make sure that the Italians did not surrender.

To be continued......

Next – Part 2 – Changes in Command
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:20 AM
Stalker Stalker is offline
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The Russian army having taken 550,000 casualties and lost 80% of their armour were forced in to retreat by the German counter attacks. The heavy casualties was due to the fact that the armour having out run the infantry got shot to pieces by the German tanks and anti tank defences. So when the Russian infantry did attack it was without armour support and ended up like World War 1 infantry attacks the slaughter of the Russian infantry was horrific.
In OTL Kursk Soviet casualties were 607,737 dead, wounded, or POWs with German casualties quite comparable (over 500 000) (Soviet stats) but it didn't stop Soviet offensive. What I am driving at is with Soviet losses you indicated, you will stay where you were with Germany unable to spare troops to fight Alies in Mediterranean. By summer 1943 Soviet military and economic might had achieved such a level that Germany's crash was only a question of "when" instead of "if". In technology race, no German "wunderwaffe" except for, probaby, nukes, could prevent Germany from being not even annihilated but simpy crushed like a bug by a sheer weight of Soviet armoured fist.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:13 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Originally Posted by Stalker View Post
In OTL Kursk Soviet casualties were 607,737 dead, wounded, or POWs with German casualties quite comparable (over 500 000) (Soviet stats) but it didn't stop Soviet offensive. What I am driving at is with Soviet losses you indicated, you will stay where you were with Germany unable to spare troops to fight Alies in Mediterranean. By summer 1943 Soviet military and economic might had achieved such a level that Germany's crash was only a question of "when" instead of "if". In technology race, no German "wunderwaffe" except for, probaby, nukes, could prevent Germany from being not even annihilated but simpy crushed like a bug by a sheer weight of Soviet armoured fist.
Hi Stalker,

Thanks for the comments.

The summer german offensive comes to an end at the end of August 1943 after that reenforcemants can be sent not only from the eastern front but also from the Balkans area.

You are right about the losses I will correct, but the total forces commited to the Kursk area were just over 1.5 million.

Thanks
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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:15 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Part 1 – A Change of Mind (third version)


In the winter of 1942–1943 the Soviets conclusively won the Battle of Stalingrad. One complete German army had been lost, along with about 500,000 Germans and Axis allies, seriously depleting the Axis strength in the east. With an Allied invasion of Europe clearly looming, Hitler realized that an outright defeat of the Soviets before the western Allies arrived had become unlikely, and he decided to force the Soviets to a draw.

In February and March 1943 German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein had completed an offensive during the Third Battle of Kharkov, leaving the front line running roughly from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. In the middle lay a large 200 km wide and 150 km deep Soviet-held salient (bulge) in the lines between German forward positions near Orel in the north, and Manstein's recently captured Kharkov in the south.

Von Manstein presses for a new offensive based on the same successful lines as he had just pursued at Kharkov, when he cut off an overextended Soviet offensive. He suggested tricking the Soviets into attacking in the south against the desperately re-forming 6th Armee, leading them into the Donets Basin in the eastern Ukraine. He would then turn south from Kharkov on the eastern side of the Donets River towards Rostov and trap the entire southern wing of the Red Army against the Sea of Azov.

OKH did not approve von Manstein's plan, and instead turned their attention to the obvious bulge in the lines between Orel and Kharkov. Three whole Soviet armies occupied the ground in and around the salient, and pinching it off would trap almost a fifth of the Red Army's manpower. It would also result in a much straighter and shorter line, and capture the strategically useful railway town of Kursk located on the main north-south railway line running from Rostov to Moscow.

In March the plans crystallized. Walther Model's 9th Armee would attack southwards from Orel while Hoth's 4th Panzer-Armee and Armee-Abteilung "Kempf" under the overall command of Manstein would attack northwards from Kharkov. They planned to meet near Kursk, but if the offensive went well they would have permission to continue forward on their own initiative, with a general plan to create a new line at the Don River far to the east.

Contrary to his recent behaviour, Hitler gave the General Staff considerable control over the planning of the battle. Over the next few weeks, they continued to increase the scope of the forces attached to the front, stripping the entire German line of practically anything remotely useful for deployment in the upcoming battle. Hitler first set the attack for May 4th, but then delayed it until June 12th, and again on the July 4th but on the 4th July Hitler did not order the attack to begin on and on the 9th July Hitler ordered the attack to be cancelled for no apparent reason.

The reasons for Hitler cancelling the attack are unknown, but it proved very timely, for the following two reasons.

1. Allies invaded Sicily on July 10th Operation Husky had started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland along with the XIV Panzer Corps to support the defence of Sicily with more reinforcements to follow as they became available.

2. When Stalin ordered his army’s to attack it was against the German army on the defensive, with a very effective mobile reserve available. The main thrust of the Russian attack was towards Orel in the north and Kharkov in the south.

Stalin though various spies had learned of the planned attack by the German army and the cancelling of the attack on Kursk by Hitler on the 8th July. When the Russian armies attacked they were met by very strong defensive fire from the German defenders. With the new Tiger tanks and the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant although these tanks were not mechanically reliable when used in the attack but when used defensively they proved decisive in winning the battle of Kursk along with the normal Panzer 4’s and the German still had the advantage of manoeuvre over the Russian army.

When the Russian attack had run out of steam at the end of August 1943, the German army launched a series of probing counter attacks against the Russian line. These attacks proved to be very successful and lead to a full scale counter attack and by the end of September 1943 the German front line had been shortened also the city of Kursk had been captured.

The German army had taken a heavy body blow but had remained in-tacked. Also the German army engineers were able to repair a quite number of their tanks that had been knocked out but not destroyed back into operation thus adding to the German army tank reserve. The German tank losses were 50% and when the front line stabilised the Germans would have a much shorter frontline than at the beginning of the battle this would help create a mobile strategic reserve.

The Russian army having taken 950,000 casualties and lost 80% of their armour were forced in to retreat by the German counter attacks. The heavy casualties was due to the fact that the armour having out run the infantry got shot to pieces by the German tanks and anti tank defences. So when the Russian infantry did attack it was without armour support and ended up like World War 1 infantry attacks the slaughter of the Russian infantry was horrific.

The Russian army was unlikely to launch another major offensive for quit a while this gave the German army time to rebuild its strength for the next round.

This victory for the Germans would also release a number of German divisions as a reserve force that not only could be used on the Russian front but other potential fronts as well.

A very happy Hitler would give Field Marshal Erich von Manstein command of the newly created OB East mirroring Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt OB West. This new command would prove useful thought 1944 and into 1945.

Down South


The Allies invaded Sicily on July 10 in Operation Husky had started. Hitler ordered reinforcements consisting of the 29th Panzer grenadier Division, the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland and the 26th Panzer Division to support the defence of Sicily but these reinforcements would not arrive for some time.

Already on Sicily were the following divisions 15th Panzer grenadier Division and the Herman Goring Division. This would be followed by the 1st Panzer Division that was refitting in northern Italy on the German Italian boarder, along with the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland would become part of the XIV Panzer Corps en route from the east.

There were already several other German infantry divisions available in Sicily as well as the Panzer and Panzer grenadier divisions. Also allocated were the flowing divisions 3rd Panzer grenadier Division (forming) 16th Panzer grenadier Division and the 90th Panzer grenadier Division along with the SS-Inf.Bde “RFSS” (in transit). These additional reinforcements would not be formed into new Corp’s but inserted into the front line with the Italian troops to give the Italian division’s additional strength.

Other reinforcements would come from the Balkans and Greece after the Allies had landed on Sicily.

The fighting for Sicily would see the British and American forces have the upper hand, and by the end of July the German and Italian defenders had retreated, forming a large arc from Lentini in the south though Valguarnera and up to San Stefano in the north of the island.

By the time the defensive line had been formed at the end of August the first wave of reinforcements had arrived with more arriving as the days went by. The plan was to attack with the XIV Panzer Corps between the British and American forces and cut them in two. To draw off as much of the American forces as possible a dummy attack would be launched pretending to try and take back the town of Caltanissetta with the 15th Panzer grenadier Division and the 26th Panzer Division at the same time the Italian forces along with the German troops supporting them would also launch a series of diversion attacks against the British front lines.

The reinforcements along with a considerable boost on German moral after the victory at Kursk and the Germans knowing that they would be receiving additional reinforcements from the eastern front that in the long term would provide a numerical superiority to the allies.

The growing number of anti aircraft batteries that were also being deployed by not only the Germans but the around the Straits of Messina providing considerable coved for the Axis troops crossing over to Sicily and also providing some protection from Allied air power which had to either come from Malta or North Africa so the Allies had to maintain patrols over or near the front lines.

The Luftwaffe did make some appearances but the cover was patchy at best but when the Luftwaffe did manage got provide assistance it did make a difference.

The attack was a success though it did cost the German and Italians and the British forces were forced to evacuate the island followed by the Americans, as their southern flank was totally gone. Even with overwhelming air power the Allies knew that is was now a matter of time before further German reinforcements would arrive after the Germans success at Kursk. It was thought by Allied command that these troops could be better used for the invasion of France that was due to happen in 1944.

By the end of 1943 the Southern front was stable, with Kursk captured and Sicily secure and Italy still in the war on the German’s side.

After moping up operations the XIV Panzer Corps with the 1st Panzer Division along with the 29th Panzer grenadier Division and the Panzer grenadier Division Großdeutschland would be withdrawn to the south of France for rest and refitting in early 1944.

The remaining German divisions would remain in Italy to provide security and to make sure that the Italians did not surrender.

To be continued......

Next – Part 2 – Changes in Command
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  #16  
Old March 1st, 2007, 12:16 PM
whatisinaname whatisinaname is offline
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Part 2 – Changes in Command (draft version)


With the quietening of the front lines at the end of 1943 a consolidation of the various commands took place.

In the east Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein would command OB East.
In the south Field Marshal Albert Kesselring would command OB South.
In the west Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt would command OB West.
In the north Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst would command OB North.

New technologies


Jets


Arado Ar 234 Blitz (Lightning) in the field it would be used almost entirely in the reconnaissance and bomber role, this aircraft proved to be nearly impossible to intercept. It would make it first appearance in April 1944 in the reconnaissance role (with four pre production aircraft) and from May 1944 it would start to appear in the bomber role (with 12 aircraft from the still forming 3rd Group of the KG76). With a performance of maximum speed of 461 mph (742 km/h) a combat radius of 500 miles (800 km) and a service ceiling of 32,800 ft (10,000 m).

Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe ("swallow") is a jet-powered fighter. It would make its first appearance at the end of May 1944 and would continue to grow in size until the end of August 1944 when a full wing would be formed JG7.

The Me 262 would be an interim design as it would be replaced by the Ta 183 from the early 1945. Also from early 1945 Jet fighters would enter full-scale production and begin replacing the piston engine fighters. The Ta 183 production would run a 400 aircraft per month from Jan 1945, as Messerschmitt would begin full-scale production of the Fw design (weather Messerschmitt liked it or not).

The piston engine fighters would also see some dramatic changes with the ending of the Me 109 production and the switching to the Fw 190 D9 and later the Ta 152, also the Fw 190 F/G in the ground attack role. By the end of 1944 these changes would complete these changes. This would see piston engine fighter production increase until there replacement by the Ta 183. Messerschmitt would also start producing a twin engird Jet fighter in April 1945 designed by the Horton Brothers (Ho 229). This would receive a Messerschmitt Me tag, Me 229 also Gotha would produce the same fighter with the tag Go 229.

Bomber production would be restricted to the He 117 and Ju 88/188/388 (in both the bomber and night fighter roles) all other piston engine bombers would be phased out of production by the end of 1944.

Missiles


Also entering production would by Germanys first air defence missile battery near Berlin in late 1944 and would soon spread all over Germany, using the Enzian surface to air missile or E-4.

The E-4 was the production design using an improved rocket motor, designed by Dr. Conrad instead of the Walther biliquid used in the earlier designs.

The E-4 is a flying wing design of striking similarity to the Me-163. Its total weight is 1,800 kg, which includes the weight, 320 kg of the four assisted take-off units. The warhead weight is 500 kg. The airframe is constructed of wood, having an over-all length and span of four meters. It attained its velocity of 300 m/sec with a main thrust unit delivering 2,000 kilograms initially decreasing to 1,000 kg during the flight. Duration of power was 72 seconds, resulting in a vertical range of 16,000 meters and a horizontal range of 25,000 meters.

The four rocket assisted take off units deliver a combined thrust of 6,000 kg for four seconds, giving the missile an end speed of 24 m/sec at 3.6g acceleration from a launch ramp 6.8 meters in length. The assisted take-off units are jettisoned after 5 seconds.

Although it was anticipated that the E-4 would be used as an air-to-air weapon with slight modification, principally reduced fuel load, all experimental testing had been done from ground to air. A standard 88mm gun carriage was adapted for use as a launching platform by the simple addition of two iron rails 6.8 meters long. A traverse of 360 degrees and a vertical firing arc from 0 to 85 degrees where obtained. Air launching of the device was routine; i.e., dropping free from underneath the parent aircraft flying in the direction of the target.

The speed on leaving the launching rails is 24 m/sec; to avoid the possibility of stall no control is applied until the flying speed has reached approximately 55 m/sec. For practical purposes and elapsed time of 5 seconds allowed between the triggering of the launching mechanism and the first control signal.

The Enzian, as were practically all-German guided missiles, was directed to the target vicinity by radio control. When the target approach was within the range of the homing device, the latter took charge of the missiles final run in. Coincidence or line of sight navigation was used under favourable conditions; however, several methods were accepted for night or reduced visibility use.

Tanks


Tank production would be changed to concentrate on the Panther/King Tiger/Jagdpanther there by increasing tank production by phasing out all other tank designs by the end of 1944 tank production would be at an all time high. The production figures are as follows Panther 8,000, Tiger 1,000 and Jagdpanther 1,000 tanks produced by the end of 1944.

In 1945 the Pz.Kpfw Panther Ausf F or more commonly know as the Panther II would enter production. This design featured a narrower turret (created by re-arrangement of the internal layout), and well-sloped armour (front: 120 mm. @ 70°, sides: 60 mm. @ 65° and roof: 40 mm. @ 0°). The weapon was the 7.5 cm Kw.K.44/1 L/70 with a coaxial M.G.42 in a Topfblende. The commander copula was lower, and featured the possibility of using a periscope without opening the hatch.

All these production changes would come under the Minister of Armaments and Production Albert Speer, with Hitler's full backing so none of the other senior Nazis would try to interfere.

OB East


In the east Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein would end the siege of Leningrad by moving the 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Crop's to army group north. The job of these two Panzer Corp's was to help defend against a Russian counter attack from punching though to the city of Leningrad.

Also from Generaloberst Nikolaus Von Falkenhorst OB North would be added the 14th Luftwaffe field Division 295th Infantry Division and the 6th SS Mountain Division as part of the XXXIII Army Corps for the attack. Additional equipment including extra Luftwaffe bombers and fighters would bring considerable additional firepower to the attack.

The attack would begin on the 1 May 1944 the main thrust of the attack would not be at the city itself but on linking up with the Finnish troops and completely encircling the city before the assault any on the city would begin.

The attempt by the Russian army to break though to Leningrad in early June fails and causes the Russian army another 750,000 casualties and 70% of the armour is destroyed. The attack was stopped by the intervention of the 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Crop's that is being used as a mobile reserve to hit at any attempt to break the siege.

The capture of Leningrad would take until August 1944 to be complete and the moping up operations would not end until December 1944. This operation would release the 18th army (after rest and refitting) to help defend the much shorter front line.

Also would mean that supplies for army group north could be supplied though Leningrad by sea. This would be small at first but would grow as the harbour facilities are repaired.

This would be the last major offensive for the German army on the eastern front for the rest of the war.

The 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Crop's would be move back to army group south.

The 14th Luftwaffe field Division and the 6th SS Mountain Division would remain part of army group north.

The linking up with Finland would have another advantage the supply of some of the raw materials for producing Jet engines would be secured. This would help increase Jet engine life to an acceptable level (if not ideal).

OB West


In the west Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt OB West was preparing for the anticipated invasion of France in 1944.

The expected area of the invasion was at the Par De Calais. The actual area was going to be Normandy but the British and Americans had been doing a very good job in fooling the Germans into thinking that the invasion would be at the Par De Calais. All this hard work was about to be undone at the end of April 1944.

Current German air reconnaissance was useless as the air defences were to strong over Britain and none of the current reconnaissance where fast enough to avoid Allies air patrols and none of the aircraft that had been sent had returned.

So production priority was given to producing the reconnaissance version of the Arado Ar 234. At the end of April 1944 this all changed when the Arado Ar 234 entered limited production as a reconnaissance aircraft. A set of four pre production Arado Ar 234 (these four aircraft were flown straight from the factory to France) began reconnaissance flights over southeastern England and found no signs of invasion activity.

So the search area was expanded to include the entire south of England and the reconnaissance hit gold in finding the preparations for the invasion but not at the Par De Calais but Normandy. This information was a shock to the German high command and to Hitler as all the indicators had pointed to the Par De Calais, further reconnaissance was ordered to confirm this, which these reconnaissance flights did confirm information of the first reconnaissance flights.

On hearing and seeing all of the evidence Hitler was shocked and ordered the XIV Panzer Corps in the south of France to Normandy under Field Marshal Rommel's Army Group B also placed under Rommel's command would be the 116, 2nd and Lehr Panzer Divisions also 17 SS Panzer grenadier Division to reinforce the Normandy defences. All these forces would be in place by the end of May 1944.

In early June the first jet bomber unit began forming, this would be the KG 76, but with only 12 aircraft in one squadron the impact of these new jet bombers would be very limited in the battle for Normandy.

This would leave General Eisenhower with a decision on weather or not to invade France.

To be continued.......

Next – Part 3 – The Battle for Normandy
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  #17  
Old March 1st, 2007, 12:24 PM
Johnnyreb Johnnyreb is offline
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I have always felt that if we are seeking a German victory in WW2 Europe, then Kursk is way too late a date for the POD. Look at the figures for present and anticipated German tank production (you can find them in Guderian's autobiography, he was Inspector-Genral of Armoured Forces) and you will see there is no chance of the Reichswehr sustaining massed offensives all over the place. In fact they did not have the oil fuel either.

By that time, in strategic terms, any German offensive would provide them with a defensive victory and that's about it.

Besides, the fact is the quality of the average Red Army general was now superior to the quality of the average German general, in my opinion.

Nor do I trust Wonderweapons. They win a victory or two at the start but pretty soon the other side starts introducing countermeasures.

You really need to start earlier, beef up German productive capacity and (duh) arrange for the germans to be less vicious in the occupied territories, so they get a pool of manpower to draw on for foot-soldiers.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 12:39 PM
Max Sinister Max Sinister is offline
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Generally: I wonder what had happened if the Italians had made peace with the Allies (note: Hitler knowing and accepting it!). The Allies couldn't have attacked Italy, instead it would form a buffer. Or did the Allies demand unconditional surrender by Italy too?
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  #19  
Old March 1st, 2007, 01:08 PM
Wozza Wozza is offline
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I can sense the rapid de-generation into Naziwank about to approach.

The problem is that fundamental problems are not being answered - how do the Germans compensate for the Battle of the Ruhr, how do they deal with the loss/replacement rates on the Eastern front; how do they deal with the fact that in 1943 one entire service, their navy, is driven out of the war.

It's all very well to talk of jets but the simple fact remains that the Germans spent 44 still producing Me 109 Gs for a range of technical and industrial reasons.
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  #20  
Old March 1st, 2007, 01:28 PM
nemo1986 nemo1986 is offline
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I am sorry to say but this POD at best will grant the Nazis maybe another year or two at the most. At most their are going to get is aprtial surrender but at this time the allies really don't like them and are hell bent on winning this war no later than maybe mid 41 or 42. You are also going to have to make hitler NOT declare war on the US cause once we fully entered the war it was all over.
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