Minimal PODs for Barbarossa to succeed taking Leningrad, Moscow and Rostov and holding the cities through winter

I have often wondered what would the impact be if the Germans had helped the Swedes build icebreakers to keep the iron ore trade flowing thru Sweden in the winter. The ice breakers would be Swedish ships to avoid British attacks. Would this eliminate the need to invade Denmark and Norway? Would the troops and equipment not used in Denmark and Norway have made a difference in the early days of the invasion of the SU?

Would having Denmark and Norway neutral allow Germany to import more food and supplies versus what they took during the war? If there was more food and supplies would it have made any difference in the war on the Eastern Front?
IIRC the Swedes built a railway from their northern iron mines to their southern ports by 1941, thereby removing the chokepoint of Narvik anyway. If the Germans were going to fund Swedish work to get the ore to them, an earlier railways seems a better use of money.
 
Army group north 1941,

On the 5th of september 1941 (man with a mustache) doe's not order the 4th panzer army transferred from army group north to army group centre,

The 4th panzer army is use to encircle and (destroy) the soviet 54th army during it's sinyavino offensive in september securing the west bank of the volkhov river from lake ilmen to lake ladoga,

As well as the south bank of the lake ladoga from the neva river to volkhov river,

Holding the volkhov river with eight division's and the oranienbaum bridgehead with one division with all other division's of army group north and 4th panzer army moved to the leningrad line,

Conducting heavy diversion attack's all along the leningrad line to tie down soviet troop's,

Germany doe's not go for a tikhvin-svir river offensive in 1941 and go's for a amphibiou's crossing in the shlisselburg area on the 16th of october in a (osinovetsky light) offensive to link up with the finn's,

Keeping well east of leningrad and it's heavy coastal artillery and outer heavy anti aircraft artillery ring,

Cutting off leningrad and by extension the oranienbaum bridgehead from lake ladoga's road of life,

At this time most of 4th panzer army and a small hand full of division's from army group north would be moved back to cover the volkhov river,

Either leningrad and (oranienbaum) would be starved into submission befor the end of 1941 or by february 1942 german troop's can just waltz in with out a shot being fired at them and begin burning million's of frozen skeleton's befor the spring thaw,

Over on the east bank of the volkhov river some four hundred ten thousand soviet troop's from siberia that had arrived in the first week of december would be flinging them self's over the frozen volkhov river in a desperate attempt to lift the siege of leningrad,
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Army group centre 1941,

With out the 4th panzer army in army group centre the drive on moscow would be slower,

In are time line that final lunge at moscow from the 15th of november crippled army group centre beyond recovery for the rest of the war,

So on the 10th of november (man with a mustache) issue's a halt order so that logistic's and (supplie's) (train's) (rail line's) (railway troop's) can be brought to order,

Army group centre's front line with out the 4th panzer army would be more to the west then in (are time line) but still would have a small hand full of unit's with in one hundred kilometer's of moscow,

With a planned renewal of operation typhoon some time in december with the hope of getting moscow befor christma's,

But by that time there will be over 1.2 million soviet troops from siberia flinging them self's at army group centre so operation typhoon would be cancelled as it goe's over to the defensive,
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Army group south 1941,

In are time line that final lunge at rostov from the 17th of november almost had 1st panzer army encircle by twenty two soviet division's that had just arrived from siberia,

So on the 10th of november (man with a mustache) issue's a halt order so that logistic's and (supplie's) (train's) (rail line's) (railway troop's) can be brought to order,

With a planned renewal of operation's some time in december with the hope of getting rostov befor christma's,

But by that time eighteen more soviet division's from siberia would have arrived and would be flinging them self's at army group south so operation's would be cancelled as it goe's over to the defensive,
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XXXVI mountain corp's 1941,

Finnish unit's are deployed historically,

In may 1941 the (6th mountain division) is relocated to norway,

Operation rentier only has 3rd mountain division to secure the nickel mine's around petsamo then goe's over to the defensive,

Operation platinum fox is to be launched only after operation arctic fox has achieved it's goal's,

Operation arctic fox order of battle (2nd german mountain division) (3rd finnish division) (6th german ss mountain division nord) (6th german mountain division) (6th finnish division) (163rd german infantry division) (169th german infantry division) (9th german ss regiment) (388th german infantry regiment) (panzer abteilung 40) (panzer abteilung 211),

With in a week of the start of operation arctic fox the soviet (104th rifle division) (122nd rifle division) (1st tank division) have been encircled and (destroyed) with the german-finn's holding lake imandra (lake kovdozero) line by the end of july,
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Operation platinum fox 1941

With the success of operation arctic fox (operation platinum fox) can now be launched leaving three division's to hold the lake kovdozero area from possible soviet attack's from the south,

Operation platinum fox order of battle (2nd german mountain division) (3rd german mountain division) (6th german ss mountain division nord) (6th german mountain division) (163rd german infantry division) (9th german ss regiment) (14th finnish infantry regiment) (388th german infantry regiment) (panzer abteilung 40) (panzer abteilung 211),

Murmansk and the kola peninsula is taken by mid november,
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Army group north with finland 1942,

With the fall of leningrad both a german army and a finnish army are freed up for army group north's 1942 summer operation's like (tikhvin-svir river offensive) (east karelia offensive) that is less then five hundred kilometer's from arkhangelsk,
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Army group centre 1942,

This army group stay's were it is tying down vast number's of soviet troop's,
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In are time line even with germany miss managing it's logistic's and (supplie's) (train's) (rail line's) (railway troop's) germany still came with in a hair's breadth of conquering the soviet union and by extension (continental eurafrasia),

The farthest germany got in to the soviet union would be unit's like leutnant jurgen schliep's company size panzergrenadier patrol that on the (14th-17th) of september 1942 occupied the astrakhan baku rail line at kizlyar and both side's of the terek river rail bridge to the south,

And or leutnant gottlieb's company size panzergrenadier patrol that on the 15th of september got as close as twenty five kilometer's from astrakhan and captured two soviet officer's with a map of the soviet defense position's,

Or leutnant euler's company size panzergrenadier patrol that on the 16th of september overran a soviet defense position seven kilometer's from the volga river some thirty five kilometer's southwest of astrakhan,

That night men of leutnant euler's company reached and spent the night on the shoreline of the caspian sea befor returning to elista on the (17th),

And it truly did not help that on the 12th of august 1942 (wilhelm list) ordered von kleist to divert both the III panzerkorp's and (LVII panzerkorp's) from there dive on grozny to support a drive on tuapse decisively dooming the effort's of operation edelweis's,
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Army group south 1942,

With leningrad in german hand's there is no need for (operation nordlicht) so erich von manstein's 11th army can stay with army group (a) operation edelweis's,

As well as the hundred's of thousand's of troop's and the thousand's of train's loaded with hundred of thousand's of tonne's worth in material's intended in (are time line) for (operation nordlicht) can now be used for operation edelweis's and to build up for a planned (operation fischreiher),

And if army group (a) reache's the turkish border and or (persian corridor) opening up the middle east in late 1942 would turkey be pressured in to joining the axis camp,

Because of the turkish war of independence turkey had inherited a vast number of surplu's german 7.7 cm and (10.5 cm) (15 cm) artillery and (gewehr 98's) (light machine gun's) that germany had flooded the ottoman empire with in (1917-1918),

In 1938 the turkish army had a size of one hundred ninety four thousand troop's with it nearly doubling in size by 1941,

The western allied troop's and (material's) will have to come from some were like those intended for operation lightfoot and operation torch,

By the end of 1941 several german army corp's had been moved in to the balkan's as well as all bulgarian armed force's for the planned operation gertrud (i) but if turkey is pressured in to joining the axis camp (istanbul-osmaniye rail line?),
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In late 1942 the western allied option's were (operation lightfoot) (operation torch) (operation sledgehammer) (operation roundup) (operation jupiter) (reassessing the 90 division gamble) and or even a (japan first) with possible peace talk's in europe,

With the amount of axis and (possibly turkish) troop's and (material's) flooding in to the middle east the western allie's will need to do,

If the western allie's do (operation sledgehammer) (operation roundup) (operation jupiter) the axis conquer's (continental eurafrasia) befor winter 1943,

Or the western allie's can flood troop's and (material's) in to operation lightfoot and (middle east) but if they do that then there is no (operation torch) decisively turning the the axis flank in north africa or an entire german army tied down on garrison duty on the southern france mediterranean coast from late 1942 to mid 1944,

Mabe the western allie's switch to a (japan first) and open up peace talk's in europe and or after defeating japan flood asia with hundred's of division's suffering million's of casualtie's on the road from vladivostok to (ural mountain's?),
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Eastern front 1943,

With the arctic and (persian corridor) lend-lease supply route's cut and the soviet loss of it's breadbasket's of ukraine and (kuban) the soviet union would be starved into submission befor the spring thaw,

Or by summer 1943 german troop's can just waltz along the trans-siberian railway with out a shot being fired at them and meet japanese troop's at lake baikal.
 
As one Russian military historian once said: if USSR was of the size of France, the Wermacht would be stopped at Sedan.

As a general rule for such alternatives you should assume that Barbarossa is not for the Germans to win. It is for the Soviets to loose. Germans cannot realistically fare any better than they did in reality. But Soviets could fare much worse (also they could fare better).
 
POD 1: Hitler initiates it in March 41 or 42 instead of June 41, giving them more warmer months.

POD 2: Someone has a brainwave and thinks to make some warmer winter uniforms, maybe via a previous operation in Russia during winter.

POD 3: Stalin and the Soviet command drop the ball, HARD.

POD 4: A combination of all 3.
 
POD 1: Hitler initiates it in March 41 or 42 instead of June 41, giving them more warmer months.

POD 2: Someone has a brainwave and thinks to make some warmer winter uniforms, maybe via a previous operation in Russia during winter.

POD 3: Stalin and the Soviet command drop the ball, HARD.

POD 4: A combination of all 3.
1 might work, but then they'd have to deal with the mud of spring-rain. So unless they want to get bogged down and give the Soviets until June to react, they would start at June.
2 wouldn't work, IOTL they did have winter uniforms but the choice was between sending food and clothing forward, or bullets and fuel. Besides the plan was to exterminate the locals and take supplies from them and the war would've been over in 8 weeks (because otherwise the Nazis run out of momentum and the planners weren't allowed to plan for a long-war).
 
As one Russian military historian once said: if USSR was of the size of France, the Wermacht would be stopped at Sedan.

As a general rule for such alternatives you should assume that Barbarossa is not for the Germans to win. It is for the Soviets to loose. Germans cannot realistically fare any better than they did in reality. But Soviets could fare much worse (also they could fare better).
I have to disagree with the colorized part. If you had said that in relation to tactical combat results, then maybe I would have to agree, but tactical battlefield performance is only part of the equation. What about Strategic level planning and execution, was there no room for improvement there? I think that just by reading a handful of posts here, I can see that there was indeed a number of ideas that are being bandied about, for improved Strategic deployments.

But what about a minor change at the Grand Strategic level?
 
Well, that certainly makes it easier.
However, there is a few more suggestions:
Quicker resolution in Greece so AGC has its panzers ready in time. Butterflies the diversion of AGC.
Quicker decision to end the BoB and maintain the Blitz as a smaller diversion (3000 planes and air crews lost at a time when Barbarossa was the strategic prize).
Those just make the Germans do worse :) . Why, its not a battle of numbers , Germans had enough , its a battle of logistics and you just put more units at the end of unchanged supply lines. Result they run out of supply quicker and don't get as far.
 
Can I check my understanding of some things?

The history I read as a wee lad, said the German army had 3,000,000 men, in 300 Divisions, at the start of operation Barbarossa. Is this right or not?

The method of supplies movement were, AIUI, trains within Germany, to Soviet border/forward staging area, after transiting Poland. Right or wrong?

After the supplies had moved as far forward as the railroads could take them, there were a number of choices:
  1. Unpack the trains using German/European gage, and load supplies aboard captured Soviet gage locomotives/rolling stock, or
  2. Dig up and move one of the rails and move it over a few inches so the rails are now the width of German gage, or
  3. Detrain everything, and it then moves forward by animal drawn carts, and/or motorized vehicle.
Is this an accurate, (if overly simplified) description of the situation?
 
Can I check my understanding of some things?

The history I read as a wee lad, said the German army had 3,000,000 men, in 300 Divisions, at the start of operation Barbarossa. Is this right or not?

The method of supplies movement were, AIUI, trains within Germany, to Soviet border/forward staging area, after transiting Poland. Right or wrong?

After the supplies had moved as far forward as the railroads could take them, there were a number of choices:
  1. Unpack the trains using German/European gage, and load supplies aboard captured Soviet gage locomotives/rolling stock, or
  2. Dig up and move one of the rails and move it over a few inches so the rails are now the width of German gage, or
  3. Detrain everything, and it then moves forward by animal drawn carts, and/or motorized vehicle.
Is this an accurate, (if overly simplified) description of the situation?
This is mostly correct. There were other problems in the trains area such as not enough locomotives. If Germany had spent half the autobahn investment on updating their railways they would have been in a better position. But thats a quite early POD.
 
There is a general oversimplification that logistics was the only real problem in Barbarossa. It was huge and “solving” it would tip the scales at least for what I’m asking for, but it was not the only problem of decisive magnitude. Ultimately, the Germans ran out of time first (after Typhoon they could have taken it without the mud) and then strength at the gates of Moscow. The reason why they ran out of time lays before and is because of attrition. Attrition which meant they couldn’t attack everywhere anymore. Maintain Luftwaffe strength longer and you have weakened the soviets in defense and counterattacks, close one front and focus on two and you can conserve strength. There are many PODs that can give two weeks before the rains.
 
There is a general oversimplification that logistics was the only real problem in Barbarossa. It was huge and “solving” it would tip the scales at least for what I’m asking for, but it was not the only problem of decisive magnitude. Ultimately, the Germans ran out of time first (after Typhoon they could have taken it without the mud) and then strength at the gates of Moscow. The reason why they ran out of time lays before and is because of attrition. Attrition which meant they couldn’t attack everywhere anymore. Maintain Luftwaffe strength longer and you have weakened the soviets in defense and counterattacks, close one front and focus on two and you can conserve strength. There are many PODs that can give two weeks before the rains.
Other issues (apart from logistics) were the huge distances (although that's related to the logistics issues), the huge Soviet Army, their huge reserve in manpower (= ability to raise more), their industrial base and lend-lease.

And as others have pointed out, it's an oversimplication that reaching Moscow = capturing it. It's a big city. Which the Soviets will defend by tooth and nail if they think it's vital for them to keep it. Taking it will take (a lot) more than two weeks.
This is mostly correct. There were other problems in the trains area such as not enough locomotives. If Germany had spent half the autobahn investment on updating their railways they would have been in a better position. But thats a quite early POD.
I have my doubts that improving the railways in Germany will improve logistics in Russia. The issue is not the German infrastructure, but the Russian. So the Germans should help the Russians build railways from Germany to Leningrad, Moscow and other major Russian cities. It would help if they were the same gauge as the German railways, but for that you'd need a POD in 1843.
 
There is a general oversimplification that logistics was the only real problem in Barbarossa. It was huge and “solving” it would tip the scales at least for what I’m asking for, but it was not the only problem of decisive magnitude.

Definitely agree with that, they have other large issue as well as logistics

Ultimately, the Germans ran out of time first (after Typhoon they could have taken it without the mud) and then strength at the gates of Moscow. The reason why they ran out of time lays before and is because of attrition. Attrition which meant they couldn’t attack everywhere anymore.

Thing is you are thinking of attrition as only loses in combat, but the reality is just advancing across such huge distances as quickly as they already did causes a lot of attrition. By itself more stuff doesn't help with that because the distance doesn't get any less you are just running more stuff over it, and if you trying this at a faster rate the attrition from this will only be worse. In fact more stuff makes this worse because more stuff itself need more stuff to support it, which itself has to keep up and move huge distances.

Plus even if they get strength to the gates of Moscow it's a city of 6m people at this point it will not fall quickly. Look at Leningrad which was in an worse situation with less defenders.

Plus if you get there before the weather sets it, that means you are trying to besiege it and support you attacks when the weather sets in.

On top of that you still have answered how do the marching infantry keep up with an even faster advance? This is another key problem and a big reason why the panzer armies had to pause, although it had the knock on bonus of letting logistics catch up as well.

Maintain Luftwaffe strength longer and you have weakened the soviets in defense and counterattacks,

Only saving a few planes from the BoB won't be enough, they already went in with 3,000-5,000 as it was, plus you still have to run those planes etc. They also have the same issues the sheer tempo of their use is itself a large attrition factor. Especially as they were expecting to be fighting 200 divs within a couple hundred KM of the border for 8-12 weeks, not fighting 360 and rising over a much larger area

In general there is a fundamental point that you don't seem to take into account. The moment you start military operations you start to suffer a loss of operational capability. It is inevitable but some things reduce that effect and some things make it worse. However the operational environment for the German forces in Russia is definitely the latter, and the German operational and strategic choices and assumptions only make it worse. No you can aha but if I get it done quicker I win before my combat capability degrades too far. Yes in theory but here you still have to travel the same long distances it's just to do it in less time you have to do it more quickly. Plus German logistics were already tight this will only make them worse. And as has been said several times they have massively underestimated how much combat will be needed.

close one front and focus on two and you can conserve strength.

Do that and so can the Russians, and remember the Germans are already underestimating how many there in June 41, where they are and how many more will be mobilised in the ensuing months. And where are a lot of those newly mobilized troops being mobilized though? Moscow.

You also seem to not be doing the Southern route now to reinforce Centre and North? OK but that's leaving alone some of the larger/better Red army formations in June 1941, plus good bases to operate from like Kiev

There are many PODs that can give two weeks before the rains.
Thing is those two weeks are not as crucial as you seem to think
 
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thaddeus

Donor
my (repeated) speculation is that Germany puts a greater emphasis on the Baltic & Black Seas, if/once they eliminate the Soviet fleets, there are no replacement fleets coming via Lend-Lease, they're gone?

there were major evacuations from Tallinn and Hanko in the Baltic and from Odessa in the Black Sea that really helped the Soviets.

if the Axis controlled both seas it could greatly aid their logistics, Leningrad and Crimea could be strongholds for them.
 
my (repeated) speculation is that Germany puts a greater emphasis on the Baltic & Black Seas, if/once they eliminate the Soviet fleets, there are no replacement fleets coming via Lend-Lease, they're gone?

there were major evacuations from Tallinn and Hanko in the Baltic and from Odessa in the Black Sea that really helped the Soviets.

if the Axis controlled both seas it could greatly aid their logistics, Leningrad and Crimea could be strongholds for them.
Well any naval resources committed to this sphere is automatically reducing strength for the Battle of the Atlantic, which the Nazis thought was vital. Also, for the Black Sea I don’t really see how they’re going to outright eliminate the Black Sea Fleet. There’s no direct naval route to the Black Sea for the Germans. They could *try* to move ships by individual parts by rail and assemble them in a Black Sea port, but I’m no expert in naval matters and this sounds incredibly time consuming. They were able to do that with U-Boats, but really only to harass shipping lines and not to directly engage the Soviet fleet. As for the Baltics, I believe there were other problems preventing a serious showdown between the Kriegsmarine and the Red Banner Baltic Fleet in the early days of Barbarossa including mines and coastal batteries. Again though, I’m no expert on this so someone else can chime in.
 
If you want Barbarossa to succeed the Germans need to take Baku forget Leningrad or Moscow 80% of Soviet oil came from Baku. You take that and the Soviet war effort will grind time a halt.

The easiest way to get that is Turkey joining in. This makes Baku very close to the Axis front lines and an easy grab before the Soviets get organized.

IOTL Turkish leadership was against joining, however, Ataturk dies in 1938 and if different leaders come to power... Turkey has claims against Britain and after the fall of France the Allies seem done. If the leadership of Turkey gets greedy they can easily end up pulling a Mussolini and bite off more than they can chew. Because now the Germans can launch an attack directly into Azerbaijan.
 
The easiest way to get that is Turkey joining in. This makes Baku very close to the Axis front lines and an easy grab before the Soviets get organized.
As others have pointed out in different threads, even this has serious issues. The Turkish military is really not up to par to make a push into heavily defensible terrain. Any German military units that are going to be based in Turkey (which, I imagine, might encounter the same political difficulties as they did in Finland) are going to be units pulled away from other sectors of the Ostfront. Also, blitzkrieg tactics are almost entirely useless in this area, it’ll just be a hard slog against dug-in Soviet troops in mountains terrain that is ideal for repelling offensives. I think the Ottoman offensive in 1914 could give you a decent idea. I can see limited breakthroughs into Soviet Georgia and Armenia, but nothing on the scale of the panic in the USSRs western borderlands in June ‘41. Not to mention that a Turkish invasion will raise popular passions in the places like Armenia, so it’s not like occupation forces will be greeting an initially enthusiastic (in the Molotov-Ribbentrop territories) or indifferent to hostile populace (like in core Soviet territories).

Also, the Turks will now be exposing themselves to attack from the Western Allies, who are quite strong on the southern Turkish border. They could be militarily devastated as a result of their decision to invade the USSR and it’s very risky for them. I can’t see Turkish troops maintaining the pressure on the Caucasian front until a 1942 push from the north. German troops will also now be tied up in occupational duties there, and get dragged into defending the Iraqi, Iranian, and later Syrian borders (so now the potential that less German troops on the main front will lead to the less successes and weakened offensives). The British would move to alleviate pressure on the Soviets immediately, not just to prevent their collapse but also to prevent Turkey from being Sovietized if the Soviets begin to turn the tide.

While the opening of a Turkish front puts additional pressure on the Soviets, it also creates a lot of problems that people ignore and does not have sufficient mass behind it to lead to a capture of Baku.
 
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I think the Germans need a better logistics and command system closer to that of the western allies ideology be dammed. Also they should prepare for a long war with plenty of reserves.
 
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If you want Barbarossa to succeed the Germans need to take Baku forget Leningrad or Moscow 80% of Soviet oil came from Baku. You take that and the Soviet war effort will grind time a halt.

The easiest way to get that is Turkey joining in. This makes Baku very close to the Axis front lines and an easy grab before the Soviets get organized.

IOTL Turkish leadership was against joining, however, Ataturk dies in 1938 and if different leaders come to power... Turkey has claims against Britain and after the fall of France the Allies seem done. If the leadership of Turkey gets greedy they can easily end up pulling a Mussolini and bite off more than they can chew. Because now the Germans can launch an attack directly into Azerbaijan.
Yes but see the points from @Nikephoros Vasilefs . Also, like the entry of Spain or Vichy France as belligerents, it's something not under German control. The Turks, like Franco, have as many reasons to stay neutral as join the Axis. And Nazi Germany can't offer them anything to bribe them for taking risks.
 
I think the Germans need a better logistics system closer to that of the western allies also they should prepare for a long war with plenty of reserves.
Yep

But Nazi Germany didn't have an economy capable of doing this in 1938-9. Nor did it manage to integrate the economies of western Europe effectively from 1940. Partly mismanagement, partly the impact of the British and later US blockade, but the result was that these economies experienced output slumps from 1940. So the Germans never really could build up their reserves and improve their logistics for the Eastern Front.

IF the British Commonwealth and Empire had been willing to make a "White peace" in late1940 or early 1941 the Germans could have concentrated their forces and been less starved of raw materials. But that's very, very implausible. And even then, with Britain only a neutral, the Germans would have problems paying for imports and matching Soviet production and mobilisation.
 
I think the Germans need a better logistics and command system closer to that of the western allies ideology be dammed.

Yes definitely, but part of the reason why teh Wallies had better logistics was economic advantage the Germans can't do match.

Also they should prepare for a long war with plenty of reserves.

Only that exactly what they didn't want and all the planning was trying to avoid, they know they don't have the manpower or resources to win a war of attrition with the USSR.

The USSR not only what 2.5x the axis population, but greater resources in it's own right and once LL get going the Wallies production capability behind it.

Germany wins quickly or it loses slowly.

We've spent lot of posts poking holes in their plan to beat the Soviets in 8-12 week by destroying the Red army within a couple hundred km of the border. And that plan wasn't going to work because the Germans underestimated the Soviets in several ways, but barring some big POD (by which I mean not simply shuffling of forces around in 1939-41) it's their only real hope.
 
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