By the way, is there any advantage of a scorched-earth defense against an opponent with a modern and operational supply line? AFAIK it would be useful against an opponent who is supplying itself largely by foraging but without the foraging it seems to be an exercise in general bloody-mindedness.
Asset denial. If you tear up the roads behind you, that slows 'em down. If you blow up buildings, that denies them shelter.
 
By the way, is there any advantage of a scorched-earth defense against an opponent with a modern and operational supply line? AFAIK it would be useful against an opponent who is supplying itself largely by foraging but without the foraging it seems to be an exercise in general bloody-mindedness.

The fewer supplies an army has to bring with it, the better off it is, always. If the army has plenty of food, the always-limited supply of trains and trucks can bring more ammunition and troops. Also, intact farms can grow food for the invaders, intact textile mills can make uniforms. Everything destroyed is not available to Germany.

Also, locals that are left behind are burdens for the invaders instead of potential assets; they need to be fed, watered, and moved--or else disposed of. Stalin sees nothing to gain by not scorching the earth.
 
I think (unless @Peabody-Martini tells otherwise, of course) that TTL Tigers are closer to this:
hqdefault.jpg

Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. H

Than of this:

486px-Tiger_E_Garage.jpg

Pz.Kpfw. Tiger Ausf. H

Addendum:

That's because by the time it were designed, they haven't met the heavily armored Soviet KVs and British Matildas who needed the heavy armor - powerful cannon combination that the Tiger was.


Also, they haven't met the iconically T 34 with its innovative sloped armour, from which the Panther drew inspiration. Since the T 34 was designed as a direct consequence of the tank clashes between the Soviets and the Japanese in '38 and '39, it may be possible that the T 34 has been butterflied away (at least for the time being).
I guess in this TL there has been a continuous evolution, somewhat helped by the experiences in Spain, but you dont really need experience to tell you that Big guns and armor is good. Look at the Soviets. They never met anything needing a KV-1 to take out
 

FBKampfer

Banned
It's completely possible that I've forgotten that, but like I added to my post above, the Panzers haven't met anything by that point that required a beast like the 8,8 mm gun, which came into being, as you probably know, by adapting the original AA gun to a large enough tank. IOTL, the quick-firing 50mm was considered enough to penetrate anything it faced (and it did, until they unexpectedly ran into the Matildas and KVs). Even with the somewhat friendly relations between Tommy and Fritz, I don't see them, not even considering Ivan, comparing notes on tank design, armour thickness, and the penetration power needed to combat that armour.
Of course, this is just me giving my opinion, so the facts ITTL may very well differ.

German tank design was largely unaffected by enemy tanks. Only the Panther and Tiger II projects were really started after any lessons were learned.

Panzer III (including ability to accept a 50mm cannon), IV, and Tiger weren't affected by T-34 or Matilda tanks.

Panzers III and IV were well pre-war designs, and the Tiger was the result of several long-running programs to develop a heavy break-through tank.

Likely the Tiger's are quite similar in both timelines. Though perhaps the Panzer III does more closely resemble a Panzer IV than a Panther. The Germans were never big into sloped armor prior to encountering the T-34.
 
The fewer supplies an army has to bring with it, the better off it is, always. If the army has plenty of food, the always-limited supply of trains and trucks can bring more ammunition and troops. Also, intact farms can grow food for the invaders, intact textile mills can make uniforms. Everything destroyed is not available to Germany.

Also, locals that are left behind are burdens for the invaders instead of potential assets; they need to be fed, watered, and moved--or else disposed of. Stalin sees nothing to gain by not scorching the earth.

From the story the whole thing is across farmland. To grow food any intact farms would require troops to be assigned as farmers and nobody's expecting things to take long enough to bring in a crop. Intact factories require raw materials plus workers.

The nastiest thing Stalin could do is to destroy the infrastructure and leave the population for the Germans to support or remove.
 
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An intact farm wouldn't require troops to work as farmers. The locals could do it, with a garrison here and there to make sure that they don't get up to no good. I'm confident that the locals will be celebrating the retreat of Stalin's forces...
 
Modern 'scorched earth' isn't about agriculture any more. It's about infrastructure. You don't have to burn farms, you just break roads and railways thoroughly. It is enough to be hell on the supply line. You don't want to live off the land anyway, because it's the best way to cause guerillas to pop up, so burning farms won't do much. If you start seizing food, you'll turn every farmer into an enemy soldier. On the other hand, leaving broken roads and railways cost little and slows you down massively, especially since some of the land between Germany and Russia is swampy and hard to travel through.
 
I can't see the Soviets being too particular in their scorched earth policy. If Stalin demands they destroy everything, then that's what they'll do. Or at least be seen to do, so long as the Commissars are happy
 
By the way, is there any advantage of a scorched-earth defense against an opponent with a modern and operational supply line? AFAIK it would be useful against an opponent who is supplying itself largely by foraging but without the foraging it seems to be an exercise in general bloody-mindedness.

Make sure that the enemy is totally reliant on their logistical tail and cannot in any way supplement from local sources. That way any interruption or disruption of the supply chain cannot be made good by foraging. Loose some of your logistical capacity for any reason (breakdowns, weather, road conditions, enemy activity) and you still need to supply everything, you cannot shift more towards munitions and POL when your men cannot forage for food. I would also expect the Soviets to poison what water supplies they can for the same reason.

If you expect to attempt encirclement battles when you counter-attack then you also shorten the time the trapped forces can resist.
 
Part 23, Chapter 245
Chapter Two Hundred Forty-Five


12th October 1941

Werder, Germany

If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself you will succumb in every battle.

General von Wolvogle had been thinking a lot about that quote from Sun Tzu over the past few weeks. They were fighting an enemy they didn’t understand. Reports from the front described the Russians employing a crude strategy of throwing bodies at their positions until their guns jammed or they ran out of ammunition. This stood in direct contradiction to the Russians using the space of their own country to blunt the attacks by the Panzer Corps. Wolvogle had requested everything that Abwehr had on Tukhachevsky, the Russian General who was believed to have been behind this. Strange man, his family was downwardly mobile Russian nobility yet he joined the Red Army in the Russian Civil War.

As Wolvogle was reading he came across notation that as a prisoner of war in 1917 the Russian General once shared a cell with a Colonel de Gaulle. The French officer had described his former cellmate as nihilistic and anti-Semitic. Wolvogle himself had never understood anti-Semitism. No one cares what religion someone subscribed to so long as they knew which end of rifle got pointed at the enemy when the shooting started. And this business of believing in nothing at all. That explained the Russian General’s survival in the Soviet system.

Wolvogle looked down at the bottom of the page to where this had come from conversation that the de Gaulle had with the Fallschirmjäger General Holz at the Verdun reunion in 1936. That was the same Holz who had occasionally beat him in maneuvers, had been in the Pacific and was now sitting with his division in East Prussia, doing nothing.

Tomorrow Wolvogle would have one chance to argue his case. He knew that much of what he was going to suggest would be deeply unpopular and it would be to a man who disliked him deeply. The thing was that he knew that he had one ace in the hole that not even an Emperor could resist.


Judenbach-Sonneberg, Germany

Kat had never thought that she would prefer going to university classes to most other aspects of her life. She’d been having to explain to the Empress every one of the current setbacks. The worst aspect was that she’d seen the Regiment that Hans was in at the very trailing end of the retreat from the Ukraine nearly surrounded by dozens of Russian Divisions. It was a nightmarish situation. Having to explain that they were now facing a protracted war and leaving her own emotions out if it. The worst aspect was that she had everyone asking her how she felt about things.

Then there was the fact that Cecilie was back, the former Empress remained one of the few people who intimidated Kat. Then there were the subjects of the meetings that she was attending. How to explain to the public that life was about to get more difficult? While no expected a repeat of the Turnip Winter just yet it was something that it had been suggested they prepare for. The Ladies of the Imperial Court were expected to set an example for the public at large. That had led to an uncomfortable conversation about how Kat had an estate that she’d never set foot on. She needed to take matters in hand. Didn’t they realize that those people had made clear that they didn’t want her around?

Now here she was wasting a weekend in the small town she owned land outside of getting dirty looks from strangers. She was having the dubious privilege of meeting with Heinz Thorwald who was Commandant of the Abwehr in what passed for a tavern.

“You have to understand better than anyone the sort of work we do here” Thorwald said “And just how important it is.”

“That is the only reason why I’ve not filed a lawsuit to have you removed” Kat said with barely concealed loathing. Thorwald could tell that whatever Schultz had done she was still angry and it had been a couple of years.

“Odds are you’d lose” Thorwald said “The laws regarding leases like this are clear and have been for a long time.”

Kat just sat there eyes narrowed in anger. She had ordered the only thing available here that wasn’t alcoholic, third rate coffee that needed to be loaded with sugar and cream to attempt to cover the bitter taste. She took a sip because she didn’t trust what she might say. As much as she might dislike Schultz personally she didn’t want to make an enemy of Thorwald or Abwehr for that matter.

“That doesn’t mean that I like it” Kat said.

“It hardly matters what you like or don’t like” Thorwald said “We were just happy that when we heard that the land was being transferred it was going to someone who was one of us.”

“I hardly consider myself one of you” Kat said, “With me being disavowed after the Reichstag bombing.”

“You’d gotten to famous for this” Thorwald said “Something that’s even more true now than it was then.”

“It’s not my fault that people just cannot seem to leave me alone” Kat said.

“You could have avoided most of it with a small amount of effort” Thorwald said “I train woodcraft out here and I frequently tell trainees that they’re only seen if they want to be.”

“You’re saying that I want to be seen?” Kat asked.

“On some level, yes” Thorwald answered.
 
I'm surprised that Tukhachevsky survived Stalin's purges. Stalin already disliked Tukhachevsky as early as during the Polish-Soviet war and wanted to get rid of him as soon as he had the opportunity.
 
I'm surprised that Tukhachevsky survived Stalin's purges. Stalin already disliked Tukhachevsky as early as during the Polish-Soviet war and wanted to get rid of him as soon as he had the opportunity.
Guess its some artistic freedom? Wouldn't want the war to end in one summer would we?
 
Guess its some artistic freedom? Wouldn't want the war to end in one summer would we?
More like a looooooooot of artistic freedom. This honestly breaks suspension of disbelief for me.

(Actually I did expect the war to end in one summer. I expected the Germans to be facing the likes of Voroshilov and Kulik, as in OTL.)
 
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