How would the Ost Front have changed if the Stavka had listened to Vatutin's requests's and launched a pre emptive attack instead of waiting for operation Citadel to commence?
I might be wrong, and I'm not saying Vatutin's plan would have necessarily failed. It's just that my gut feeling is that it wouldn't have gone as well.
In addition, I'd have to ask "which time?" Hitler delayed it a bunch of times, most famously on May 4th.
Last edited by Turtler; February 27, 2013 at 04:43 PM. Reason: Edited due to problems.
Indeed thats true :/ Hitler should have listened to his generals and just not attacked :/ I realize the Generals try to blame every defeat on Hitler but in this case it seems pretty darn accurate...
And that's the delay I was referring to May 4th
Sorry if I am a bit less accurate with dates and such I tend to focus more on the war pre 1943
I understand. Agreed, the entire Kursk operation was not the most brilliantly thought out in the history of the German military. Really, it was quite logical for Hitler to insist on an attack *somewhere*, because Germany could simply not afford a purely defensive posture at this point in time and doing so would've played into the strengths of the Allies, especially the Soviets.
But insisting that the attack happen *at Kursk* after extensive buildup was moronic to the extreme. The Kursk salient was an obvious target to attack, but at the very least it should've been done either under a strict veil of secrecy (with the usual extensive misdirection efforts) or indirectly: IE going after a weaker front hundreds of miles away to force the Soviets to redirect forces out of that stronghold.
Still, I think a Soviet attack pre-Citadel would've been highly inadvisable. Either it catches the Germans before they've really gotten committed and at best doesn't do enough to be decisive, or at worst it mauls the Red Army severely and possibly leads to another Kiev. Even if they won, it probably would not be on terms anywhere near as favorable as the already exorbitant costs of OTL Kursk.
You put it a good way... moronic
I wonder if the Russians did attack how deep they would be able to penetrate German lines before the front re stabilized as well as their best case scenario and more realistic objectives
Im assuming Kyiv would be a best case objective
But trying to wipe out the entire Red Army in one go was never going to be smart, especially after the Soviet Union was no longer behaving with all the ingenuity of a bar of soap like they were in the years preceding it. A pitched battle on that scale played to all of the Soviet advantages; a limited engagement targeting a smaller, more digestible "bite" of the Red Army played to that of the Axis at this point in time. Kharkov pointed out that that kind of operation was still more than within the Axis capabilities as they existed following Stalingrad, and doing that would allow you to attire the Soviets better (and in turn weaken the overall power of the Kursk Salient) than a straight-forward charge at the most obvious target. As a bonus, it could even be used as a building action, to try and carve a path towards an eventual, hypothetical encirclement operation of the salient; only this time in a way far more intelligent than Zitadelle historically was.
As for more realistic objectives, Beograd and Orel would be the first objectives, with (at least most of) the territories lost at Third Kharkov probably being a possible minimum (in theory, at least). Getting those would remove Kursk's salient status and even out the front lines, while hopefully shattering a decent percentage of Army Group South's strength.
The Wehrmacht had shown they could nimbly execute savage counter-attacks and solid reistance during operation Mars (Oct 42) and the riposte to Little and Big Saturn, Jan-Feb 42) when Soviet tank armies were mauled and entire Fronts stiopped in their tracks.
The failure in stopping Little Saturn/Uranus was a result of Hitler's interference: he was a little paralysed in the winter in 1942/43 and distracted by the North African campaign (where he was busy throwing away another 250,000 men on top of Stalingrad).
There were less obvious distractions in June/July 1943 so its likely the Wehrmacht would have maximum interferenbce with their defense, and elastic tank-army destruction would be off the cards. Likely Hitler wouldmissue the same stand-and-fight orders that cost so much in 1944. I imagoine some strong defense from the Wehrmacht but ultimately they'd lose the battle of attrition and would resort to disobedient retreats, and face excution at home.
IF the Soviets jumped first AND somehow the Allies provided a major distraction (looney attack into Norway, early leapfrog attack on Rome) maybe some smart Panzer generals would have the play in their orders to slice and dice the Soviets and delay armageddon long enough that the Hammer and Sickle would not float over the Reichstag, rather a mushroom cloud.
Jatte lambastes Calico Rat
Little Saturn was probably a failure of intelligence.
At any rate, Manstein was able to pull off 3rd Kharkov because he kept the plans for that operation within his headquarters, he didn't consult outsiders. This prevented the extensive and skilled (vast understatement. As far as skill in intelligence goes, the Soviets were in their own league, way better than anyone else) Soviet intel apparatus from knowing Manstein's positions and goals.
This is using absence of evidence, so take it for what it is, but I'd wager we know a good 80%-90%+ of the Soviet Union's great intelligence triumphs, but we know far less of what the West was doing simply because there hasn't been this comprehensive defeat and unmasking like the USSR and Germans suffered. I'd wager the overall record is a lot less favorable to the Soviets than the amount of info we know offhand is, and even the stuff we do have points more to parity than to one side curbstomping the other in terms of intelligence work.
I agree Little Saturn was a failure of intelligence, but it was probably more of a failure of positioning as well. Even if the Axis somehow did know what was going to happen, the bottom line was that the Axis were royally hosed by their logistical situation and how they chose to dig in and maneuver. It's doubtful-say- the Italians could've withstood things any better even if they could act on intelligence to grab better positions and make better preparations.
Last edited by Turtler; March 04, 2013 at 04:11 PM.
Well, I was really thinking of all the stupid spy documentaries I watched on the History Channel and other such channels, but it's pretty obvious they have an agenda to talk about stunning Soviet successes as it's more dramatic than "well the Soviets made a lot of brilliant moves in their intelligence apparatus, but the US also had some successes of their own."This is using absence of evidence, so take it for what it is, but I'd wager we know a good 80%-90%+ of the Soviet Union's great intelligence triumphs, but we know far less of what the West was doing simply because there hasn't been this comprehensive defeat and unmasking like the USSR and Germans suffered. I'd wager the overall record is a lot less favorable to the Soviets than the amount of info we know offhand is, and even the stuff we do have points more to parity than to one side curbstomping the other in terms of intelligence work.
True, and just like the Kursk salient, it doesn't take a genius to know what's going on. At Stalingrad it was pretty obvious that the Germans were overstretched along the front and had to rely on their allies, allies who weren't as well prepared as the Germans, lacking weapons and the experience that many of the survivors of the German defeats in the Soviet Counter-Offensive of 1941-42 were able to impart to rebuilt German units.I agree Little Saturn was a failure of intelligence, but it was probably more of a failure of positioning as well. Even if the Axis somehow did know what was going to happen, the bottom line was that the Axis were royally hosed by their logistical situation and how they chose to dig in and maneuver. It's doubtful-say- the Italians could've withstood things any better even if they could act on intelligence to grab better positions and make better preparations.
It's remarkably self-evident that a largely horse-drawn and outnumbered German army stuck in an 11-mile long built up area isn't exactly terribly mobile, and that having a massively long front from Stalingrad into the Caucasus and the Black Sea leaves a lot of space to be covered so pourously.
Intelligence work is an ugly business in any circumstances, but against us the Soviets took that ugliness up to an art form. They were merciless, they were pitiless, they were ruthless, and they operated without concern for morality or ethics of any kind outside the usual Soviet set. They were willing to stoop down lower than we would ever go and they knew and exploited it. Case in point what they'd do if they needed a prisoner we had nabbed back. In the traditional Hollywood version we'd usually be familiar with, there would be this epochal special operations rescue operation, where we would have a team of the elite gathered, practice umpteen times a day to maintain peak preformance, a long, long effort of trying to gather intelligence on the compound and everything in it, a precise timetable, and planning.....
The Soviets did it far simpler. They just fanned out and arrested any Western citizens they could cook up bogus charges for in order to try and force our hand into a prisoner exchange. And all too often we would give in. Now, say what you will about that, and I know I would say a *lot* about it- most of it being unprintable here- but that is effective. Now, contrast that to when they were at war with the Germans. To the best of my knowledge they *never* tried this with the Nazis, and probably for good reason: it would not have worked.
That's the sort of stuff that made them so effective. It's just that whereas they trumped us through plain ruthlessness, we trumped them in a few places (like raw technological advantage and morale). So there is good reason why, but it's just not the whole story.
I don't remember who said it, but every WW2 German problem could have been solved by dumping Hitler into a well.
I watched a Documentary about Kursk, and from the numbers while the Russians had the advantage in terms of men, tanks and guns they barely had more than the Germans, if the Germans had played defensively but using their Panzers as reserves for a counter counter attacks they would probably hold the Russians far long than they did in reality, or at least have a longer and bloodier retreat to Poland. Maybe even an inversion of History could be possible with the Allies arriving in Berlin first and thus being in Position of saving Poland from the clutches of the Soviet Union.
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In fact, Germany had the advantage of quality of equipment and despite the extensive Soviet defensive positions were able to drive deep into the defenses. When it was tank on tank combat in the open, the Germans on a person by person basis won against the Soviet tank forces. But the Soviets also had tank units within their defenses that did their part in hurting the German Panzer units. Conversely, the Soviets had massive forces lying in reserve, especially the troops in the Steppe Front, so even closing the Salient wouldn't have won the battle for Germany.I watched a Documentary about Kursk, and from the numbers while the Russians had the advantage in terms of men, tanks and guns they barely had more than the Germans, if the Germans had played defensively but using their Panzers as reserves for a counter counter attacks they would probably hold the Russians far long than they did in reality, or at least have a longer and bloodier retreat to Poland. Maybe even an inversion of History could be possible with the Allies arriving in Berlin first and thus being in Position of saving Poland from the clutches of the Soviet Union.
There were also the Soviet operations immediatley after Kursk against the Orel Salient that really hurt Model's 9th Army.
However, despite the German superiority in skill and equipment, the Soviets got progressively better, so I'm not sure you can add that many months to the war with Kursk alone.
Keep in mind that the longer the war in the East lasts, the easier the West gets for the Allies, and once the Allies land in France, Germany now has to split its forces.
Last edited by Slaytaninc; March 05, 2013 at 02:19 PM.
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