How easy would it be for Germany to capture Moscow in 1941?

I'm not sure what you are suggesting at ATL you first off start by saying break through the Mozhaisk defense line but this is what they did mid Oct anyway (it's just their logistics and road conditions and teh fcta that were worn down meant they couldn't press on). But then you say mid Oct they should rest and consolidate and stock pile?

But you can't do both?
Rest after they take Moscow and no, the Mozhaisk defense line didn't collapse until the end of October.

Either way your problem for either is from early Oct the roads are turned to mud "rasputitsa", so attacking is hard and so waiting and resupplying is not guaranteed. Nw in OTL they went with attacking and broke through but still could move in, when the ground froze in Mid Nov the mud issue started to lift (but of course the cold brought it's own problems although how much is debatable*).
The routes of attack into Moscow were on all weather roads but, anyway, the Germans did continue the attack anyway, finally collapsing the Mozhaisk by the end of October.

Zhukov also started fortifying Moscow from the moment he takes control on the 10th Oct, yes it's initially with a quarter million civilians digging trenches and tank traps and fortifying buildings but the idea that Moscow was defencelessness is kind of overdone IMO. Now long term such actions won't keep a determined well supplied and large German assault out but it doesn't need to because at worst it just has to buy time. Plus you don't have a well supplied German force to keep at that time. There's I think an underestimation of what is needed to take an hold a city of 6m people even without large numbers of red army in it, Moscow is big, way bigger than any Russian city they've attacked so far (hell it's bigger than any city the Germans attacked full stop)! Plus it's the wrong force to do it anyway, Panzers and mechanised panzer grenadiers are not what you want for this. You want all those infantry divisions who are stuck in the mud back down the line, which is why in previous encounters with cities the Panzers tend to bypass then but hopefully cutting them off from resupply and the following infantry moved in to take them and pacify them.
The Russian civilians could make all the defenses they wanted; it wouldn't matter because the Soviets at this juncture didn't have the men to man them. As I've said, the only troops within Moscow at this time are few NKVD detachments not suited for fighting for the city, and were currently engaged with trying to keep law and order among said population. As for said Muscovites, I presume many would flee, as Wiking has pointed out but given the German proclivities in terms of Soviet populations, I'll doubt they'll be much of an issue.
 
Rest after they take Moscow and no, the Mozhaisk defense line didn't collapse until the end of October.
resting means being resupplied, and being supplied means working roads, and resupplied doesn't suddenly mean they get replacements for all their tanks and other losses. And they need to be resupplied to take Moscow, they need to be resupplied and have better roads to break through to Moscow quicker than OTL. It took a couple of weeks to collapse the Mozhaisk defense line completely but they were breaking though from 18th Oct:

On 13 October 1941 (15 October, according to other sources), the Wehrmacht resumed its offensive. At first, the German forces attempted to bypass Soviet defenses by pushing northeast towards the weakly protected city of Kalinin and south towards Kaluga and Tula, capturing all except Tula by 14 October. Encouraged by these initial successes, the Germans launched a frontal assault against the fortified line, taking Mozhaisk and Maloyaroslavets on 18 October, Naro-Fominsk on 21 October, and Volokolamsk on 27 October after intense fighting. Because of the increasing danger of flanking attacks, Zhukov was forced to fall back

we know what happens when they attack that line in Oct during the supply and mud issues, because that is what they did OTL


The routes of attack into Moscow were on all weather roads but, anyway,
only really close to Moscow and so it doesn't matter enough for all the other roads that are mud, again we know this because even after breaking through the Mozhaisk defense line in Oct they still had to wait until mid Nov freeze to continue the attack.


the Germans did continue the attack anyway, finally collapsing the Mozhaisk by the end of October.
right just as i said, so I'm not sure they your ATL is? You seem to be suggesting what they already did?

The Russian civilians could make all the defenses they wanted; it wouldn't matter because the Soviets at this juncture didn't have the men to man them. As I've said, the only troops within Moscow at this time are few NKVD detachments not suited for fighting for the city, and were currently engaged with trying to keep law and order among said population. As for said Muscovites, I presume many would flee, as Wiking has pointed out but given the German proclivities in terms of Soviet populations, I'll doubt they'll be much of an issue.

And that is an assumption yes some will flee and yes those that do man the barricades won't be combat troops, but there are plenty of examples of Russian citizens forming this kid of civilian defence formations. the Narodnoe Opolcheniye,

The Narodnoe Opolcheniye was formed again in 1941 during the Great Patriotic War in significant numbers.[23] Sixteen divisions were formed in Moscow. Eighteen were formed in Leningrad, of which five became regular rifle divisions.[24


this is the section from the battle of Moscow wiki:

Moscow itself was also hastily fortified. According to Zhukov, 250,000 women and teenagers worked building trenches and anti-tank moats around Moscow, moving almost three million cubic meters of earth with no mechanical help. Moscow's factories were hastily converted to military tasks: one automobile factory was turned into a submachine gun armory, a clock factory manufactured mine detonators, the chocolate factory shifted to food production for the front, and automobile repair stations worked fixing damaged tanks and military vehicles.[51] Despite these preparations, the capital was within striking distance of German tanks, with the Luftwaffe mounting large-scale air raids on the city. The air raids caused only limited damage because of extensive anti-aircraft defenses and effective civilian fire brigades

No it's not full of crack troops, but frankly the idea that it's defenceless is exaggerated.

wiking's point is actually the wrong way round the Nazi proclivities make it more likely that the ordinary citizens will fight back because they know what happens if Moscow falls!

and on tops of that as I said sending in Panzers to massive city to do such fighting is bad idea and a poor force choice. You can't hold ground with tanks, especially not built up areas. Some seem to think taking Moscow is just mater of driving tanks into teh suburbs and bam the city surrenders and is taken and controlled by the Germans, it's really not


But most importantly you have not addressed the issue how does you ATL actually differ from OTL? You ATL just seems to be exactly what they did OTL only with an added "and take Moscow then resupply tacked on the end). But you haven't said how you plan to support that extra bit with changes from OTL?

You have to get the Germans their earlier and in better shape and with no changes in Moscow's defence due to the changes in German actions, I addressed that but ASFAICT you haven't?
 
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How about if Stalin does not trust Sorge and leaves several more divisions in Siberia?
He never trusted Sorge and most of the divisions weren't from Siberia:

resting means being resupplied, and being supplied means working roads, and resupplied doesn't suddenly mean they get replacements for all their tanks and other losses. And they need to be resupplied to take Moscow, they need to be resupplied and have better roads to break through to Moscow quicker than OTL. It took a couple of weeks to collapse the Mozhaisk defense line completely but they were braking though from 18th Oct:

On 13 October 1941 (15 October, according to other sources), the Wehrmacht resumed its offensive. At first, the German forces attempted to bypass Soviet defenses by pushing northeast towards the weakly protected city of Kalinin and south towards Kaluga and Tula, capturing all except Tula by 14 October. Encouraged by these initial successes, the Germans launched a frontal assault against the fortified line, taking Mozhaisk and Maloyaroslavets on 18 October, Naro-Fominsk on 21 October, and Volokolamsk on 27 October after intense fighting. Because of the increasing danger of flanking attacks, Zhukov was forced to fall back

we know what happens when they attack that line in Oct during the supply and mud issues, because that is what they did OTL
Per Forcyzk's book on armor operations in 1941-42 the attacks on Volokolamsk didn't start until the 23rd of October, deep into the muddy season. Early probing attacks started on the 20th, when the first forward elements of 1 panzer division arrived, but they were minor and just for recon. In the delay it took for 9th army/3rd Panzer group to arrive at the line the Soviets had finished bringing up reserves including two fresh tank brigades, units that would not have been there on October 14-15th had the Kalinin attack forces instead headed East.
 
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Per Forcyzk's book on armor operations in 1941-42 the attacks on Volokolamsk didn't start until the 23rd of October, deep into the muddy season. Early probing attacks started on the 20th, when the first forward elements of 1 panzer division arrived, but they were minor and just for recon. In the delay it took for 9th army/3rd Panzer group to arrive at the line the Soviets had finished bringing up reserves including two fresh tank brigades, units that would not have been there on October 14-15th had the Kalinin attack forces instead headed East.
Right but they couldn't attack all of them at once so you're gong to have to chose an order, and those tank brigades are going to go to where ever is left, right?

Kalinin was weakly defended so it makes sense to flank that one first (less change of being countered by it) and easier to roll it up? i

I have to admit my Moscow area geography is not photographic, can you even reverse that order seasonably in term so contacting them and not getting countered?)
 
Right but they couldn't attack all of them at once so you're gong to have to chose an order, and those tank brigades are going to go to where ever is left, right?
All of what at once?

Kalinin was weakly defended so it makes sense to flank that one first (less change of being countered by it) and easier to roll it up? i
No it doesn't make sense to go after a flank target and the commander of the corps dispatched there even protested against the move.
Especially with the mud and supply issue it was incredibly stupid to divert to a divergent tertiary target rather than drive up the middle at the enemy's capital. If you don't want to go at the weak defensive line directly at least go for an area that would lead you to Moscow once you skirt the defense like, like Klin where the 3rd Panzer army ended up moving to in November to flank the Soviet defenses.

Kalinin might have been momentarily exposed, but it was an incredibly difficult city to hold and the corps dispatched was badly ground up just trying to survive until the rest of the army could catch up, because they were cut off from supply and surrounded in short order after arriving. Kalinin could have been easily screened by 9th army while 3rd Panzer was sent after Moscow.

I have to admit my Moscow area geography is not photographic, can you even reverse that order seasonably in term so contacting them and not getting countered?)
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking.

Here is a map though:
 
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He never trusted Sorge and most of the divisions weren't from Siberia:
[URLunfurl="true"]http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/[/URL]
Interesting, especially as West Point's history book still cites relocation of Siberian divisions as key to the Battle of Moscow.

[/QUOTE]
 
Interesting, especially as West Point's history book still cites relocation of Siberian divisions as key to the Battle of Moscow.

West Point isn't a historical research institution. I've read any number of studies done by the US military and affiliated institutions that have information that actual historians have long since debunked. Of course among even actual historians there has been a lot of myth that get repeated over and over because people don't do work in the archives to double check things. For one example David Glantz has fallen victim with that on the German side of the hill despite his excellent work in the Soviet archives.

Plus that WP history might have been published before the Soviet archives were accessible. The Soviets themselves liked to publish non-sense histories of WW2 for political reasons and early on the Germans too liked to push their own myths to explain away their failures (efficacy of the T-34 and KV tanks, general winter, Siberian divisions, etc.) or even misunderstood what was going on, because they didn't have access to Soviet records like we do now about the movement of Soviet divisions behind the lines.
 
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I wonder how different it might have been with the earlier Marcks Plan
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I always wonder what dream land the OKH was living in, to think they could reach the Volga, and Gorki in 17 weeks? This was from the leadership of an army dependent on rail lines, and horses, that was little bigger then the army they had in France in 1940. Just what did they teach in Staff College? Certainly not geography, or logistics. The General Staff had certainly declined since 1914. In 1914 the German General Staff knew what trains would be passing over what rail lines with clockwork precision. Their plans were drawn out while working with professional rail road engineers, and managers, so they could knew what was possible, and what was not. In 1941 they were just winging it, in the hope that tactical victories would lead to a Soviet collapse.

In 1588 the commander of the Spanish Armada believed his chances of victory were slim to none. He said "We are sailing against England in the confident hope of a miracle." He could've been speaking for the Germans 350 years later.
 
I always wonder what dream land the OKH was living in, to think they could reach the Volga, and Gorki in 17 weeks? This was from the leadership of an army dependent on rail lines, and horses, that was little bigger then the army they had in France in 1940. Just what did they teach in Staff College? Certainly not geography, or logistics. The General Staff had certainly declined since 1914. In 1914 the German General Staff knew what trains would be passing over what rail lines with clockwork precision. Their plans were drawn out while working with professional rail road engineers, and managers, so they could knew what was possible, and what was not. In 1941 they were just winging it, in the hope that tactical victories would lead to a Soviet collapse.

In 1588 the commander of the Spanish Armada believed his chances of victory were slim to none. He said "We are sailing against England in the confident hope of a miracle." He could've been speaking for the Germans 350 years later.
The guiding assumption was that the Soviet state would implode after the armies at the border were defeated and they could use captured Soviet rail to advance much in the same way they did in 1918:

To be fair both the US and Brits thought that would happen too and apparently so did Stalin hence his supposed breakdown after the fall of Minsk and peace offer in July.
 
The guiding assumption was that the Soviet state would implode after the armies at the border were defeated and they could use captured Soviet rail to advance much in the same way they did in 1918:

To be fair both the US and Brits thought that would happen too and apparently so did Stalin hence his supposed breakdown after the fall of Minsk and peace offer in July.
Your right that was the assumption, but I don't know if the Allies thought the Germans would get to the Volga, and Gorki. In 1918 the Ukrainians rose up, and helped the Germans, and most of the Baltic States were already occupied. In 1941 Hitler only offered the Ukrainians death, and enslavement.
 
Moscow could be taken, but that would not make the entire USSR flop down and surrender to someone who was genociding them. When eastern Germany did fall to the Red Army at the end of WW2, Stalin would be even more vengeful then in OTL, especially if Hitler had the Kremlin destroyed.
 
All of what at once?


No it doesn't make sense to go after a flank target and the commander of the corps dispatched there even protested against the move.
Especially with the mud and supply issue it was incredibly stupid to divert to a divergent tertiary target rather than drive up the middle at the enemy's capital. If you don't want to go at the weak defensive line directly at least go for an area that would lead you to Moscow once you skirt the defense like, like Klin where the 3rd Panzer army ended up moving to in November to flank the Soviet defenses.

Kalinin might have been momentarily exposed, but it was an incredibly difficult city to hold and the corps dispatched was badly ground up just trying to survive until the rest of the army could catch up, because they were cut off from supply and surrounded in short order after arriving. Kalinin could have been easily screened by 9th army while 3rd Panzer was sent after Moscow.


I'm not exactly sure what you're asking.

Here is a map though:
your idea seems to basically be ignore the defensive line just go straight down the middle and on into Moscow?

Only even by only going down the middle it's 70 miles between the defensive line and Moscow and everything turned to mud, and you doing this with largely out of supply and degraded forces.

Yes the defensive line in mid Oct wasn't the most powerful collection of forces ever deployed, but I think you plan risks the 3rd panzer getting bogged down in mud between Mozhaisk and Moscow only instead of Zhukov having fallen back in front of it, he'll be piling onto its rear!

If the roads were good and panzers at full strength and well supplied and everyone can quickly reinforce each other then yeah ok maybe you bull you way into Moscow and wait for infantry, but that's not the situation
 
your idea seems to basically be ignore the defensive line just go straight down the middle and on into Moscow?
The line at Volokolamsk was not nearly as tough as at Mozhiask. So yes, easier to go through than around given the mud and the weak forces there mid-October.

Only even by only going down the middle it's 70 miles between the defensive line and Moscow and everything turned to mud, and you doing this with largely out of supply and degraded forces.
Everything except the road. That's the point of going up the middle against the weak forces defending Volokolamsk in mid-October instead of late October.
Plus mud was a problem fighting their way through to Kalinin, but they made it there in mid-October when the mud wasn't as bad, forces weren't as tough, and German forces in question were still not worn down. Unlike the units that arrived at Volokolamsk in late October who had been worn down fighting the Vyazma pocket (yet still took the defense line in a matter of days before the mud got too bad to continue on), the 41st Panzer corps was an exploitation unit that had not participated in significant combat in Typhoon until they got close to Kalinin and had a relatively open route all the way to Volokolamsk if they were ordered to go in that direction instead.

The situation on October 14th was quite a bit different than October 23rd when the first major offensive action was taken against Volokolamsk by much weaker forces than what the 41st could have put on the city in mid-October.

Yes the defensive line in mid Oct wasn't the most powerful collection of forces ever deployed, but I think you plan risks the 3rd panzer getting bogged down in mud between Mozhaisk and Moscow only instead of Zhukov having fallen back in front of it, he'll be piling onto its rear!
3rd Panzer? Mozhaisk? I'm not talking about that part of the effort. I'm talking about the OTL Kalinin offensive forces, the 41st Panzer Corps, being pushed east to Volokolamsk instead, which was on their route of march before they swung north to Kalinin. They'd be north of Mozhiask and face the Soviet 16th army, which IOTL was the strength of a weak rifle corps on a weak section of the Moscow defense line and IOTL not even attacked until October 23rd by which time they'd been reinforced and only faced a fraction of worn down German divisions, who quickly ended up taking the city, but then bogging down in the mud of late October.

My suggestion is that rather than bogging down in the mud, by moving on the 14th against Volokolamsk they'd overrun the 1 full strength, but inexperienced and badly trained 316th division that was holding a 41km line by itself; the mud was far less of a problem by mid-October than it was in late October and at that point the 41st PC was able to travel more than 70 miles from their position equidistant from Moscow as Kalinin in a few days.

If the roads were good and panzers at full strength and well supplied and everyone can quickly reinforce each other then yeah ok maybe you bull you way into Moscow and wait for infantry, but that's not the situation
The Volokolamsk road was in better condition than the Mozhiask one due to less use and forces using it. Plus the 16th army (really a weak rifle corps) was quite a bit weaker and more strung out over a longer and weaker defensive line than the 5th army at Mozhaisk. Given the situation it would be near impossible for the 16th army to fall back as they were an unmotorized rifle division that would be facing a panzer corps at near 2/3rds it's establishment strength.
 
The line at Volokolamsk was not nearly as tough as at Mozhiask. So yes, easier to go through than around given the mud and the weak forces there mid-October.


Everything except the road. That's the point of going up the middle against the weak forces defending Volokolamsk in mid-October instead of late October.
Plus mud was a problem fighting their way through to Kalinin, but they made it there in mid-October when the mud wasn't as bad, forces weren't as tough, and German forces in question were still not worn down. Unlike the units that arrived at Volokolamsk in late October who had been worn down fighting the Vyazma pocket (yet still took the defense line in a matter of days before the mud got too bad to continue on), the 41st Panzer corps was an exploitation unit that had not participated in significant combat in Typhoon until they got close to Kalinin and had a relatively open route all the way to Volokolamsk if they were ordered to go in that direction instead.

The situation on October 14th was quite a bit different than October 23rd when the first major offensive action was taken against Volokolamsk by much weaker forces than what the 41st could have put on the city in mid-October.


3rd Panzer? Mozhaisk? I'm not talking about that part of the effort. I'm talking about the OTL Kalinin offensive forces, the 41st Panzer Corps, being pushed east to Volokolamsk instead, which was on their route of march before they swung north to Kalinin. They'd be north of Mozhiask and face the Soviet 16th army, which IOTL was the strength of a weak rifle corps on a weak section of the Moscow defense line and IOTL not even attacked until October 23rd by which time they'd been reinforced and only faced a fraction of worn down German divisions, who quickly ended up taking the city, but then bogging down in the mud of late October.

My suggestion is that rather than bogging down in the mud, by moving on the 14th against Volokolamsk they'd overrun the 1 full strength, but inexperienced and badly trained 316th division that was holding a 41km line by itself; the mud was far less of a problem by mid-October than it was in late October and at that point the 41st PC was able to travel more than 70 miles from their position equidistant from Moscow as Kalinin in a few days.


The Volokolamsk road was in better condition than the Mozhiask one due to less use and forces using it. Plus the 16th army (really a weak rifle corps) was quite a bit weaker and more strung out over a longer and weaker defensive line than the 5th army at Mozhaisk. Given the situation it would be near impossible for the 16th army to fall back as they were an unmotorized rifle division that would be facing a panzer corps at near 2/3rds it's establishment strength.

Ok Ill be honest I'm having trouble picking your plan out you start of by saying going north around the weaker forces of Kalinin / better roads, but then you talk about going straight through to Volokamsk?

You seem to be describing pretty much what happened? Only you seem to a have gained two weeks somewhere?

And on those two weeks the thing is in the first week and a half of Oct the German are still doing Vyazma & Bryansk* ? How have you pushed that forward or completed that quicker here?

(also the mud was pretty made mid Oct)



*actually it takes until the third week to finally end resistance but they're contained by then.
 
Ok Ill be honest I'm having trouble picking your plan out you start of by saying going north around the weaker forces of Kalinin / better roads, but then you talk about going straight through to Volokamsk?
No. I never said head north and even posted a map to show what I meant.
I said if you're were going to try and avoid the Mozhaisk defense line entirely go after Klin, which was north of Volokolamsk, but southeast of Kalinin:

Volokolamsk was the way to go though thanks to the rail line via Rzhev and road as well as the mud limiting the ability to head north around the defense line.

You seem to be describing pretty much what happened? Only you seem to a have gained two weeks somewhere?
More like 10 days or so with different, stronger forces. I said repeatedly which forces and where they'd come from.

And on those two weeks the thing is in the first week and a half of Oct the German are still doing Vyazma & Bryansk* ? How have you pushed that forward or completed that quicker here?

(also the mud was pretty made mid Oct)
Again I feel like you're not paying any attention to things we've been arguing about over several pages. The 41st Panzer corps that took and held Kalinin would in the scenario we've been talking about instead head East against Volokolamsk. They would be diverted early on and arrive around the 14th or so there instead of Kalinin.
IOTL they were not part of the Vyazma or Bryansk pocket forces they were an exploitation force that slipped through the gap in Soviet lines created by the pocket battle. Again I already posted a map of their movements during the battles, but will repost it again despite being only a few posts up on this very page:


Mud depended on where and when. The forces that reached Kalinin IOTL and ITTL will head East instead were not hampered enough by it, despite overrunning at least 1 Soviet rifle division in the process of getting to Kalinin in OTL.

*actually it takes until the third week to finally end resistance but they're contained by then.
In Volokolamsk? The first attack was on the 23rd of October IOTL and the city fell on the 27th or 28th.
 
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