WWII Eastern Front 1942

What if after the capture of Sevastopol in the summer of 1942, Von Manstein’s 11th Army was transferred to Army Group Centre instead of Army Group North as it historically was? Were operational plans to capture Toropets and Sukhinichi bulging into the German frontlines feasible? How about just cancelling Operation Nordlicht against Leningrad altogether and instead launching limited offensives against the Oranienbaum and Pogostye bridgeheads, and to expand the Ramushevo corridor leading in to the Demyansk salient? Perhaps directing the forces earmarked for use during Nordlicht to an offensive against Volkhov would be a feasible option to cut off the Road of Life supplying Leningrad?

This is my first ever forum post, and I am currently still researching into this topic, so please bear with me for a while.
 
Welcome to the mad world of posters, and good luck. I think what your talking about is a small change, that would have little effect on the war. The idea of taking Leningrad was something worth doing. Case Blue pulled the Germans east, overextending their forces, and leading to the disaster at Stalingrad. I've always thought taking Leningrad was more doable, and helpful to the Axis. It would close the Baltic, linkup with Finland, and shorten the Eastern Front. I think you do have the right idea, that what the Germans needed to do was consolidate their position in Russia, not further extend themselves. A drive on Moscow in 1942 made more sense then one into the Caucasus.
 
Welcome to the mad world of posters, and good luck. I think what your talking about is a small change, that would have little effect on the war. The idea of taking Leningrad was something worth doing. Case Blue pulled the Germans east, overextending their forces, and leading to the disaster at Stalingrad. I've always thought taking Leningrad was more doable, and helpful to the Axis. It would close the Baltic, linkup with Finland, and shorten the Eastern Front. I think you do have the right idea, that what the Germans needed to do was consolidate their position in Russia, not further extend themselves. A drive on Moscow in 1942 made more sense then one into the Caucasus.
Taking the Caucuses was crucial to German fuel concerns. They weren't going to get another chance after 1942. It was a throw of the dice, sure, but it had a reasonable chance of success and if it achieved its goals would cripple the Red Army's aviation, tanks, and trucks.
 
Taking the Caucuses was crucial to German fuel concerns. They weren't going to get another chance after 1942. It was a throw of the dice, sure, but it had a reasonable chance of success and if it achieved its goals would cripple the Red Army's aviation, tanks, and trucks.
Not really. They literally ran out of gas hundreds of miles short of Baku. The goal was logistically unattainable. Even if they captured any oilfields intact how would they ship any oil back to Germany? They should have just bombed Baku, to reduce Soviet oil production. The deeper they went into the Caucasus the wider the front became, dispersing their forces, and making them more vulnerable to a counter attack. They were very lucky not to have lost Army Group A. The Red Army almost won the race to Rostov, and if the Germans had been any deeper into the Caucasus they would've won it. Driving into the Caucasus was like putting your head in a lions mouth. Your risking your head, and can't get anything useful out of it.
 
Not really. They literally ran out of gas hundreds of miles short of Baku. The goal was logistically unattainable. Even if they captured any oilfields intact how would they ship any oil back to Germany? They should have just bombed Baku, to reduce Soviet oil production. The deeper they went into the Caucasus the wider the front became, dispersing their forces, and making them more vulnerable to a counter attack. They were very lucky not to have lost Army Group A. The Red Army almost won the race to Rostov, and if the Germans had been any deeper into the Caucasus they would've won it. Driving into the Caucasus was like putting your head in a lions mouth. Your risking your head, and can't get anything useful out of it.
As the Soviets and later Western Allies found, bombing oil fields is easier said than done. Even if the Germans got no oil from conquering the Caucuses, the Red Army's offensive ability would have been crippled after Soviet reserves ran out. That alone justifies an attempt to take the Caucuses.
 
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As the Soviets and later Western Allies found, bombing oil fields is easier said than done. Even if the Germans got no oil from conquering the Caucuses, the Red Army's offensive ability would have been crippled after Soviet reserves ran out. That alone justifies an attempt to take the Caucuses.
Would the Nazis able to hold on for the year and a half it would take for Russian oil reserves run out, not counting the fact that lend lease would compensate accordingly? Also it's 3,000 miles from Berlin to Baku and there was only one railroad line in this direction past Rostov (that is OTL's forces was already beyond the capacity of that single line with only fuel and ammo sent while they starved, froze, and went bare-foot. The Heer could only advance ~500km by it's motely collection of conscripted vehicles further limited by the total two month's supply of oil before it has to build new tracks or convert Russian rail gauges. Best case scenario it manages to run out of carefully hoarded oil against minimal opposition two months in Baku, and now it has to defend a 1500km front triple what it has before with 2/3rds it's initial strength (assuming only attrition and minimal battles) without oil for mobility or substantial concentrated aircover.
 
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Would the Nazis able to hold on for the year and a half it would take for Russian oil reserves run out, not counting the fact that lend lease would compensate accordingly? Also it's 3,000 miles from Berlin to Baku and there was only one railroad line in this direction past Rostov (that is OTL's forces was already beyond the capacity of that single line with only fuel and ammo sent while they starved, froze, and went bare-foot. The Heer could only advance ~500km by it's mostly collection of conscripted vehicles further limited by the total two month's supply of oil before it has to build new tracks or convert Russian rail gauges. Best case scenario it manages to run out of carefully hoarded oil against minimal opposition two months in Baku, and now it has to defend a 1500km front triple what it has before with 2/3rds it's initial strength (assuming only attrition and minimal battles) without oil for mobility or substantial concentrated aircover.
It was a long shot, but it was Nazi Germany's best chance of winning the war.
 
As the Soviets and later Western Allies found, bombing oil fields is easier said than done. Even if the Germans got no oil from conquering the Caucuses, the Red Army's offensive ability would have been crippled after Soviet reserves ran out. That alone justifies an attempt to take the Caucuses.
True, it's hard to take out large oilfields from the air, but the Germans couldn't get there by ground ether. German planning for the Russian War was fantastical from the very beginning. How did they think they could get to the Urals, on flying carpets?
 
It was a long shot, but it was Nazi Germany's best chance of winning the war.
Well the plan was for the Russians to be as incompetent and delusional as Tsar Nicholas and starve themselves to death in Leningrad before the Nazis got there. Too bad for the Nazis that the Russians didn't agree to bend over for enslavement and extermination. Might have worked if Pol Pot was in charge in Moscow and too busy slaughtering Russians before the Nazis got to. All of this just makes me think that Hitler was a bad alt-history writer.
 
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Well the plan was for the Russians to be as incompetent and delusional as Tsar Nicholas and starve themselves to death in Leningrad before the Nazis got there. Too bad for the Nazis that the Russians didn't agree to bend over for enslavement and extermination. Might have worked if Pol Pot was in charge in Moscow and too busy slaughtering Russians before the Nazis got to. All of this just makes me think that Hitler was a bad alt-history writer.
They were hoping the Red Army would stand, and fight, like in 1941, so they could be encircled west of the Don. But after the June Battle of Kharkov the Soviets retreated in time to avoid that. After that Hitler kept changing his operational plans, till he became fixated on Stalingrad, and we all know how that turned out. Not even Czar Nicholas II was a bad as Stalin in the first year of the war. The Imperial Russian Army wasn't all that bad. The Czar's mistakes were mostly political, and economic, not acts of tactical, or operational stupidity.
 
After the war von Kleist wrote that Hoth ‘could have taken Stalingrad without a fight at the end of July’, but Hitler diverted Hoth toward the lower Don where no need existed. At the end of August and in early September, Stalin, Zhukov and the rest of the Soviet high command worried about their ability to hold Stalingrad with only 40,000 defenders in the city and Hoth and Paulus so close. Both points of view are probably correct.50 As had been the case with Moscow the year earlier, if Hitler had really wanted to take Stalingrad and if the Wehrmacht had really been focused on a single objective, the Germans probably could have done it. But that is another story.

Perhaps allowing Seventeenth Army to deal with Maikop while First Panzer raced to seal off the Caucasus military roads would have brought more success in capturing the oil fields at the eastern end of the mountain range. Perhaps allowing Seventeenth Army to deal with Maikop while First Panzer raced to seal off the Caucasus military roads would have brought more success in capturing the oil fields at the eastern end of the mountain range. On 1 November, 23rd Panzer took Alagir, the northern terminus of the Ossetian Military Road, while its sister division pushed on against the still disorganized defenders. The 13th Panzer took Gizel, less than 10km from Ordzhonikidze, the capital of the Caucasus region and more importantly from a strategic standpoint, where the Grusinian Military Road exited the mountains. If the Germans blocked both military roads, over which much of the logistic support for the entire Soviet southern theater flowed, the impact would be tremendous.

Hitler's Panzer Armies on the Eastern Front by Robert Kirchubel. Pen & Sword Military.
 
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