Does Barbarossa succeed if there are no western allies?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by victhemag, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    An interesting role reversal would be if, pre Barbarossa, the Germans try to purge their officer corp to replace them with politically loyal Nazis.
     
  2. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Well, Himmler was hot to replace the Heer with the Waffen-SS.
     
  3. toolbox11742 Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to imagine the Soviets doing worse at the opening stages of the war than they did in the original timeline; They lost 4 million men killed or captured in the first couple of months

    It depends if Stalin allows his front commanders some tactical free hands which he did not do during the opening stages of Barbarossa with very destructive results; also if he does as he did in the original timeline, forbidding retreats and ordering what effectively became suicide tank charges in the open into the teeth of German anti tank guns, completely exposed to German airpower (see Battle of Brody for example)

    Without the need to focus on U-boats and home defense from British bomber raids, German industry could certainly produce more tanks, anti tank guns, artillery pieces and a little bit more strategic mobility. They can probably bring 25 of their 40 western divisions to bear against the Soviets as well giving them effectively two additional field armies and 2 panzer corps (likely enough, given the very poor initial Soviet deployments to take Leningrad by August)

    For every bit as enormous as the Soviet Army was in 1941, it was every bit as strategically rudderless and disorganized; its within the realm of possibility the Germans could destroy all forces in western Russia in the 1941 campaign season and force the Soviets to the table or to experience a political collapse; such a thing wasn't exceptionally far off; after the debacle at Vyzama, the entire Soviet army in Western Russia was under 1 million men briefly
     
  4. Post Well-Known Member

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    There have been a few posts that the Germans didn't bring winter clothing, although technically correct, it doesn't tell the whole story. It's not that the winterclothing wasn't available, but that logistics prevented them getting at the front, because there was more rush to supply the troops with ammo, food and fuel in a desperate attempt to get Moscow. Meanwhile the winterclothing was sitting in supplydumps in Poland. This would probably still a problem. German logistics lacked, they still would.

    Apart from that it's a difference between getting to Moscow and actually capturing it. In OTL they didn't even get to it, let alone capture it.
     
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  5. toolbox11742 Well-Known Member

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    Not losing the many dozens of JU-52s they lose in Crete reduces a modest amount of that burden, as does the repatriation of lost German aircrew from the Battle of Britain; as well as not having to use to many transportation assets to support the DAK

    Without the threat of the Royal Navy, Army Group North (especially once they take Leningrad) could be supplied by coastal convoys under fighter cover to take some of the strain of the railway reconstruction efforts; The additional 25 divisions also presents the opportunity for improved rear area security or for more manpower to be put into road/rail work to continue nourishing the spear point divisions
     
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  6. Scott Washburn Member

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    Mar 11, 2018
    If England capitulates in 1940 then I would say, yes, the Germans beat Russia in 1941-42. With the 1500 aircraft (and veteran aircrews) lost in the Battle of Britain available to them, Rommel commanding a panzer corps that's in Russia, not North Africa, and possibly an earlier start, then I think Moscow falls in late 1941. With Moscow in German hands, that's pretty much the ball game. The Soviet rail network radiates out of Moscow like the spokes of a wheel. Grab the hub and the Soviets are left with a number of unconnected fragments. Shifting troops and resources becomes very difficult. With Moscow fallen Leningrad falls almost automatically. Stalin bleeds the Red Army white in bloody but unsuccessful counterattacks during the winter and in the spring the Germans take the oil fields in the Caucasus (and hold them) and drive halfway to the Urals. Game over.
     
  7. merlin Well-Known Member

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    When this question comes up there is always a difference of opinion on the result. Some write about when the UK rejoins the fight, or supplies Russia with L-L. No, don't see that at all in the context of accepting German leadership in Europe - that's what a 'peace treaty' would be about; you are more likely to see the RN supporting the Germans in the Baltic!!
    Stalin will be prepared - while Soviet border forces this time may have ammunition, the strategy to defeat the attack at the border by attack, after attack, with no regard to defense, will still as in OTL prove suicidal.
    While the original attack date, because of the weather is unlikely to be attainable, likewise without the Balkan diversion, unlikely to wait until the 22nd - as per OTL. The 15th June, is not early enough, I'd go with more like the 8th. This means when the Germans first meet the T-34 it'll be further east.
    Seems likely too, that Germanies Allies will have more German equipment, as the Lw re-equips older aircraft are passed over to Hungary, and Rumania.
    Meanwhile, in the US FDR treads a fine balancing act between seeing the dangers of Nazi Germany, and the likes of Lindbergh & Joe Kennedy. With a defeated UK, I wonder who the American public favour the Germans or the Russians!? We can't assume it will be the Russians.
     
  8. BlondieBC Kaiser of Ozarks

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    Seems like Germans had enough winter clothes produced, they just had a distribution problem.
     
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  9. thaddeus Well-Known Member

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    as shocking as the concept sounds you might get another government in UK that disavows declaration of war, that they had/HAVE common enemy in the Communists? (they're not losing any territories, their troops repatriated, no Versailles type reparations)
     
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  10. wiking The One and Only

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    IIRC that was through October not July or August, as the Soviets did lose over 1 million men in October just in front of Moscow.
     
  11. thaddeus Well-Known Member

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    under this scenario, the composition of the invasion force would (possibly) be much changed? what would their desired force consist of? they thought highly of Spanish and Turkish troops? (they could arm both here)
     
  12. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    There are knock on effects of a disaster at Dunkirk not being considered. Namely some nations on the fence that decided to stay neutral like Spain and perhaps one or two others like Turkey very well may toss in with the Axis right before the peace treaty with Britain to see if they can get something out of the deal.

    That has follow on effects longer term.
     
  13. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    As far as Spain goes, I'm not sure how much more than can do than perhaps send a few more forces than the "Blue" division which went OTL. Any forces they send are going to be infantry, with some support units at best and anything beyond rifles will pretty much need to be supplied by the Germans. German logistic problems in Russia were huge, and part of that was the use of a myriad of different trucks and tanks both German and from the occupied countries, adding more units with unique logistic requirements only adds to this. OTOH every Spanish unit that needs to be equipped with German gear is a drain on gear for German units. To the extent open trade, no disruptions in Germany, and having occupied factories make German gear ITTL makes German supplies more plentiful that could be less of a problem. In any case Spain is a basket case after the Civil War, and with an armistice/peace with Britain Germany can't offer up Gibraltar.

    Turkey is a similar case, basically all they can offer is infantry with little heavy support. Greece has not been invaded here, but perhaps Germany can make some proffers for the future although Bulgaria will want a piece of Thrace. Certainly the Caucasus is up for grabs, and in that terrain the lack of armor and a lot of artillery matters less. Closing the Straits prevents Russia from getting anything via the Med, however given Britain won't be shipping much (if anything) and the fact the Regia Marina is operating without interference from the RN means any Soviet flagged shipping will be caught shortly after it leaves Turkish waters.

    The other major neutrals in Europe; Sweden, Switzerland, and Portugal, would need Skippy the ASB to become belligerents. Both Spain and Turkey are poor countries in various stages of recovering from disastrous wars (WWI or civil) who would need a good deal of materiel assistance to be useful players. Their actions OTL make it pretty clear that to join the Axis they would need to be convinced that Germany was going to win, and that they would get some spoils commensurate with what it would cost them. For Spain, the big prize would be Gibraltar, for Turkey the oil fields of Northern Iraq, and both of those are still in the hands of the UK and would require a new war. Turkey could be offered the Caucasus in part (Germany will want Baku) and maybe some concessions from Greece but that's it.

    If Germany has beaten the UK, and succeeds in Russia, then the neutrals in Europe (and lets assume Greece and Yugoslavia stay neutral) will trim their sails to catch the German wind. If either Greece or Yugoslavia is told to make some territorial concessions (the Banat to Hungary for example) they will do so - having suffered humiliation and losses to protect Poland, I doubt the UK will go to war over the Banat or some Greek islands. As long as the Germans don't put a toe over any lines demarcating British territory...
     
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  14. toolbox11742 Well-Known Member

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    From June 22nd to the end the Vyzama encirclements (Oct 15th); The Russians lost roughly 4 million men, which equated to 100 percent of their pre war army and about half of their total losses from the first world war.

    Perhaps my use of the term "couple of months" was too broad; in 114 days they captured or killed 4 million Russians; or 35k men per day

    I would still stand by the broad stroke of my statement that the initial stages of Barbarossa went as poorly for the Russians as one could imagine; outside of 2 armies that where able to run away on the Dvina river and eventually bottle themselves up in Leningrad, the Germans ultimately destroyed or captured everything in front of them (the Smolensk survivors eventually being lost in the Vyzama battles)

    In situation in which the UK has made peace in 1940 I find it hard to fathom that the Russians could similarly be caught so flat footed and ill prepared; that is unless Stalin engages in exactly the same behavior he did in the original timeline, and makes the same poorly thought out command decisions at the beginning of the campaign as well
     
  15. wiking The One and Only

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    The Soviet pre-invasion army was over 5 million men. Perhaps 4 million was what was in European Russia.
    Thing is my comment you quoted was right, losing 4 million men officially (per Krivosheev) took until October, though there are other Russian historians who challenge his numbers and alledge that the Soviets took significantly more losses in 1941 than the currently recognized Russian official numbers due to reporting problems due to units collapsing and the general chaos during the invasion, which broke down the reporting mechanism around mobilization. That and challenges about who and what organizations qualified as combatants (like whether police and firefighters really counted as civilian losses other whether being a government personnel and becoming casualties in a combat zone made them really combatants). Also in the period in question there were also substantial numbers of deserters who weren't captured or became casualties, they just became missing and probably went home if possible.

    That said yes 1941 was pretty bad, but not as bad as it could have gone due to a number of operational/strategic mistakes the Germans made and some reasonable choices the Soviets made. Perhaps the Soviets wouldn't be caught nearly as flat footed, but going by Glantz's "Stumbling Colossus" the Soviets were in a really bad way in terms of actual defensive planning and had only the broad strokes of a mobilization plan that largely broke down IOTL and was a major part of the continuing Soviet collapse throughout 1941. If anything Stalin would be even more scared about invasion and would do everything he could to placate Hitler so as not to provoke him, as it was clear even going full out the USSR was not ready to fight in 1941.
     
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  16. toolbox11742 Well-Known Member

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    4 million in western Russia is correct from what I have heard

    And yes Russian casualties in 1941 and generally throughout the war are a matter of academic debate particularly as it became trendy to inflate losses in the 50's and 60's as a way to discredit Stalin; for example Nikita Kruschev (who may have had access to source material that nobody else had) stated that Russian losses in the winter war exceeded 1 million; whereas the Soviet stated losses and general post war count comes in 250-350k

    The other problem was that the Germans (for example in the Kiev pocket) tended to detain every male over the age of 12 which arguably inflated their prisoner counts (although considering that the Soviets conscripted every male over the age of 12 in some of the darker periods in 1941, one might argue the counts where accurate)

    The Germans inflicted massive losses at the border because the Soviets experienced a near complete command collapse the first two weeks of the campaign; major Soviet forces up to the corps level went days in a position of no orders, conflicting orders or insane/impossible orders allowing German troops to flow around them unchallenged, cut off their supply lines and compel their surrender. Admittedly it was stunning after what happened to France for the Russians in the original timeline to not have taken better precautions to protect themselves, but with no other German efforts elsewhere in Africa, the Balkans etc; I believe the Russians would more seriously realize the Germans were coming for them and take more adequate defensive measures
     
  17. wiking The One and Only

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    Given how much Stalin low balled the war losses (claiming only 7 million dead) there wasn't really much inflation that they did about their losses from 1941, if anything they were lowballing them. Post-Soviet Russia has put them at 26-27 million total people of which about 8.6 million soldiers were counted as war dead. That is generally considered the lowest possible losses, with a lot of military adjacent forces counted as civilians (like partisans and police); David Glantz estimates Soviet military dead as at least 11 million with much of the discrepancy in official Russian/Soviet numbers in 1941-42. There are some Russian scholars that estimate more based on a variety of esoteric arguments that may or may not hold water (demography/census issues, problems with archives, etc.).

    Also anyone in a uniform (the Soviets did that in 1945 too), which meant any government official, even if technically a non-combatant. There is enough debate about the issue of who was drafted and when during the collapse that it is worth considering that the vast majority of the people rounded up as PoWs were combatants (whether or not they were willing) or aiding the Red Army in some way.

    Well, command issues were probably the least of their issues given the insane orders Stalin was issuing. Surprise and standing orders not to respond to attacks were much more an issue as well of course the border being the point of maximum Axis combat power without logistics issues, casualties, or having to travel deeper into Russia via poor roads. Given the rate of German losses they certainly weren't unchallenged, its just that the Soviets were unable to effectively fight back for a variety of reasons that aren't limited to communication disruptions or surprise/lack of mobilization.

    'More adequate' is relative, especially given the increased Axis combat power that would come from not being blockaded or having other fronts. Of the 8 million men of the Wehrmacht in 1941 less than half participated in Barbarossa (note Wehrmacht means the entire German armed forces, not just the army). One of the biggest issues both in terms of surprise and for the Axis to even be able to invade the USSR is how Hitler is going to sell the build up to and war with the USSR ITTL without an already ongoing war with Britain. Going from peace to war without some sort of political build up I think would be impossible and Hitler himself lamented that after defeating the British he wouldn't be able to get the German people to go to war again. The Soviets assumed that there would be some sort of build up to war and border incidents first before invasion over the period of a week to allow for mobilization IOTL and might be right ITTL (it fit Hitler's pattern up to and through Poland). So perhaps the question is how much better could the Soviets do with a week's notice of war given all their horrible deficiencies IOTL?
     
  18. SOAWWIISoldier Well-Known Member

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    Assuming that Japan stills attacks the US, does Hitler declare war on the US? If the oil embargo is only partial does Japan still have the incentive to attack the US?
     
  19. toolbox11742 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm ability to stomach a new war after a period of peace is something I didn't consider; I don't recall any special efforts done to justify Barbarossa other than the crusade against communism propaganda

    With a week to mobilize they could disperse aircraft and ammo dumps; harden communication centers and issue standing and contingency orders. They could mobilize their tank brigades into better concentrated reserve formations (with as much AA and fighter protection as available) to engage or try to cut off German mobile spear points; they could also wire and mine every bridge within 150 miles of the border and staff them with fanatical NKVD troops


    The Axis employed 3 1/3 million troops for Barbarossa. Another 25 divisions (German) without a western front is certainly possible. The Luftwaffe's manpower requirement's for home defense, defense of France, Africa, Italy and the Balkans where enormous, not just fighter planes but everything ground operated especially and including 10's of thousands of flak troops. The seemingly obvious places to install the additional German formations would be an additional field army and panzer corps to Army Group North, an additional panzer corps to panzer group 2 and a field army installed in between panzer group 2 and the 2nd army.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 2:38 PM
  20. victhemag Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt Japan will attack the US, as they will have sufficient resources ITTL, even with the US embargo, to continue the war in China, which is what they wanted.