Best Case Scenario for Germans at Kursk, 1943?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Anaxagoras, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Anaxagoras 21st Century Jeffersonian

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    Barring ASBs and with a POD no earlier than March 1, 1943, what is the best case scenario for the Germans at the Battle of Kursk? Could the Germans have achieved a strategic success at Kursk or were they odds stacked against them simply too great?
     
  2. sharlin Banned

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    In all honesty the Germans did as good as they could, they were outgunned, outnumbered and in the end even if they did manage a success they would have crippled themselves and be unable to defend against attacks elsewhere.
     
  3. Cymraeg Ebil bocagist CONSPIRATOR!

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    Best case? Hitler listens to Guderian and calls it off. Sadly for his men he didn't.
     
  4. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Speer, Guderian and Rommel were right that the era of great Panzer movements knocking the enemy way back were over for Germany and attacking the Kursk salient was a really bad idea.

    Germany's only hope at that point of achieving anything short of unconditional surrender was to focus on the big advantages that come with waging a defensive war and then try to make peace with Stalin. 1930s Hitler might have been willing to do that. But, by 1943 his mental health had declined to the point were it was really effecting his military judgement as well as his willing to make compromises when he felt he had to even with his supposed ideological enemy Stalin.

    By 1942/43 it was victory or death in Hitler's mind for the German Army, the German people as well as himself. Hence the moronic orders to Von Paulus and Rommel to fight to the death for their Army Groups rather then fall back from an untenable military positions, hense attacking Kursk, hense the Mortain offensives, hense the Battle of the Bulge. I think all these decisions were influenced in no small part by Hitler declining mental health and increasing drug use.

    There is a reason the Allies stopped trying to kill Hitler it 1942, even they knew his decision making skills were declining and he was turning into a major asset for their war effort. Eventually by 1945 he was completely demented and actually believed Steiner's forces at 10% strength could turn around the war.
     
  5. BlondieBC Kaiser of Ozarks

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    Pretty much. Build up like you are going to attack to keep the Soviets on the defensive. But have good plans to move units to wherever Stalin will attack after he figures out the Germans will not attack.
     
  6. wiking Member

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    Not 100% on this. If the offensive was launched in May when it was originally planned and far less fortified or reinforced it could have potentially cut off the salient and bagged several hundred thousands prisoners. Retreat after they are digested.
     
  7. deathscompanion1 Well-Known Member

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    Best case?

    Hitler fears that Morale might be sagging so goes to the build up areas with Himmler, Gobbles and co, to inspire the troops. His plane crashes into a river and it's fuel tank catches fire, Hitler burns and drowns to death at the same time.

    Germany collapses internaly 1943 and the allies make a landing in France and reach Berlin first.
     
  8. Julian Well-Known Member

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    Not really. The Germans would lack most of the modern armored fighting vehicles they had IOTL. And while yes the salient would be less well fortified, the Soviets would have just as many reserves as they did IOTL. They had numerous formations that IOTL they didn't commit to defend the Kursk salient which would have been thrown into the fray to halt the German advance. Further, the Soviet Fronts on the flanks of the salient were already prepared to go on the offensive, so the German attackers in the North will have to contend with a major Soviet attack into their rear towards Orel, and attacks along the Mius river.

    Finally, the Germans, NEVER had the infantry divisions required to "digest" a major Soviet pocket in 1943. They could encircle it certainly, but the panzer and panzergrenadier divisions would be so badly burned out that they wouldn't be able to form a proper ring of encirclement that could hold off counterattacks from every major Soviet formations that could be thrown into the fray, while simultaneously reducing the pocket
     
  9. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Pre-Kursk was not too late for Germany to achieve some not all of its goals, with better leadership the war could end much later not earlier.

    Think about this possible timeline. Those die who you say dies and there is no way in hell the Heer supports Goering after Stalingrad. The Field Marshal's will step in quickly and kill Goering, castrate the SS and end the Final Solution. You will have a military junta in place.

    It depends on which generals/Field Marshal's are running things, but things for the Soviets will get alot worse militarily and for the Western Allies are going to get alot militarily and politically harder on the Western Allies as the loss of Hitler and Himmler with a regime that is talking the need for peace will make things harder to keep up the Europe first strategy and if Normandy fails I think Churchill goes down as PM perhaps replaced by Lord Halifax and FDR goes down in the November elections in favor of a Dewey who will be talking peace with honor with Germany and a focus on the enemy who attacked us.

    I honestly think a peace between the U.S., UK and Germany is hammered out handing over France and the Low countries by early 1945. I suspect Dewey kills Lend Lease to the Soviets, but not the UK as long as they are still in the war against Japan which they will be.

    With international markets open, Germany not having to have tons of forces in the West, with Germany not having to deal with Anglo-American air attacks and without Lend Lease to the Soviets it will be a whole different ball game. The war in the East grinds to an end by 1946 or 1947 at the latest. I expect something akin to the 1940 borders would end up being where the line gets drawn.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  10. Nietzsche Banned

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    Indeed, Hitler was doing more to damage & sabotage the war effort than the allies could ever dream of.
     
  11. BlairWitch749 Banned

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    with a march 1 43 pod you can change elements of the third battle of kharkov... manstein eschewed a crossing of the donets at the end of the battle because he felt his forces were exhausted (true) and that he might get trapped by the rasputa and encircled (ultimately he had a 2 week window to take additional ground before the weather turned to crap)

    even though Manstein's forces were tired, they were intact and closer to their supply hubs than the russians were, and the russians were still over extended and exhausted from their advances over the winter... also the drubbing inflicted at kharkov would have inflicted the stavka and stalin with serious caution about taking on the combined might of the 1st and 4th panzer army on the offensive; at least until the soviet mobile formations could be rebuilt and resupplied

    so Manstein choosing to cross the donets at the end of the battle may indeed have panicked the russians into abandoning the salient, ceeding the territory to the germans without a fight; allowing the germans to rape the territory for material and labor over the spring and summer and likely shifting the decisive point for the summer somewhere else (probably the orel bulge and mius loop)
     
  12. Nietzsche Banned

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    While in hindsight we know that Hitler and his cronies were the trouble-makers, but at the time the public saw it as a war against
    Germany. The state and its people.

    Would the allies and SU be more likely to negotiate with this Germany? Likely. But Britain, and especially the Soviets, are going to want their pound of flesh.
     
  13. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator

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    Burns to death while drowning?

    Hmmm...

    Might still be too good an ending for the bastard, but not bad.
     
  14. Nietzsche Banned

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    We could send electricity through the water, and maybe line the river with underwater spikes?
     
  15. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Military success is the neccessary ingredient and without Kursk and with Germany maintaining a defensive strategy in the East they would have more forces available for the West. They also wouldn't have the stupidity of Hitler dividing the forces in the West between two Field Marshals and then taking the divisional commands away from the Field Marshals. As I said it would require military success at Normandy along with a new regime that is talking peace and saying it will give up its holding on Europe. After a failure at Normandy in that scenero I give it high odds Churchill gets dumped in a no confidence vote. That would effectively also cost FDR re-election. Suddenly you have two new leaders in charge of the UK and US who unlike FDR and Churchill likely won't see the war in Europe in the same light and very well might take a cheap peace in Europe to get back occupied Western European nations so they can focus on Japan.

    As for Stalin like I said it would be if the Germany can fights his forces to a bloodly draw which is possible in such a timeline. That is why a live Hitler was better for the WAllied war effort then a dead one, at least until July 1944 when if you take away Hitler the generals would have opened up the Western Front.
     
  16. NORGCO Well-Known Member

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    Piranha?

    Not nearly enough 'Hitler drowns while being burned alive, electrocuted and eaten by Piranha stores out there in my opinion.

    The Piranha were released by the crash of a truck carrying exhibits from some rich guy's private zoo. So the SS rescue teams are eaten by rabid Meercats - driven to ferocity by hunger in this alien landscape - and the bones destroyed by Honey Badgers.

    Still too good for him.

    As to Kursk, best move would be to keep delaying the start of the offensive 'to allow more new wonder tanks to be present' until the autumn mud, or the Soviets realise you are stalling and attack, or hell freezes over. Probably won't do more than improve the German/Soviet kill ratio by avoiding head on attacks into strong fortifications, but 'best move' is not necessarily 'win the war move'. That is not on the cards anymore.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  17. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    How about withdrawing the entire front so that the bulge at Kursk isnt a big bulbe anymore and then using the thousands of tanks used and lost at Kursk in a defensive matter

    Aha, i just went to the Wikisite regarding Kursk and saw that Germany lost 720 tanks but the Russians lost 6000 tanks and assult guns.
     
  18. sharlin Banned

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    I belive Guderian had a plan to withdraw and let the Soviets advance and then attack the Soviets when they had reached the end of their supply chain with what he called a 'back handed blow' it could have worked, but Hitler didn't allow any steps back at this point so the idea never got off the ground.
     
  19. Axeman Insufferable Contrarian

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    Backhanded blow is probably the best bet for the Wehrmact at this point. It worked well enough at Kharkov and saved Army Group South from complete destruction following the debacle at Stalingrad.

    However none of this is changed by the fact that the Soviets are being fed reliable information by the allies and knew the German plans ahead of time, in order for any conclusive victory to be reached that obviously must stop.
     
  20. BlondieBC Kaiser of Ozarks

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    This is starting to remind me of Rasputin. Poisoned, then axed, then dying in a cold river.