Hypothetical LW confrontation

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Oct 6, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
    Assuming that the LW was minimally envolved in the West, and had access to imported oil from overseas, a stalemate could have been ensured in the Eastern Front?

    Note: the goal of this thread is analyze the relative strenghts of the LW and VVS, so more "laboratory" and less political analyzes.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The LW was not the root cause of the failure of Germany taking Moscow.

    Germany never had the resources that the Soviet Union had but the primary question is whether Germany, with absolutely no chance of France or Britain intervening on September 1, 1939, could add the additional resources from the West (opposing France) to make a final push to not only capture Moscow (and beyond) but also the oilfields in Ukraine in 1940.

    Dubious thesis that Germany would go 'all in' and risk France jumping them in the West.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    There are too many gaps in this scenario. Imported oil from overseas? As Dragondog has said that means that Britain and France are at least neutral, otherwise there is a naval blockade. Now you have the question of armaments production and resource allocation (and training?) in a time period that varies from Sept 1939 to the summer of 1941 with no war which means there is little to go on for the theoretical force strengths. The Germans only have the Spanish Civil war combat experience. And so on.
     
  4. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #4 Vincenzo, Oct 7, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
    AFAIK there were not large oilfields in Ukraine in 1940. Maybe some small but nothing for the large needs of Germany/luftwaffe.


    p.s. i thinked that oilfields implicit exploited
     
  5. merlin

    merlin Member

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    You could have a situation where - with France defeated, with say Churchill not PM - Britain seeks peace. Whilst Germany can pick chosse what it has from France, not so easy with Britain - everything's 'imperial' not metric. So to repatriate 'prisoners Germany requires shipment of oil tankers!
     
  6. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Germany had the resources of the USSR and more in many ways, but the USSR had military support from the US and UK. Materially the USSR had access to unlimited avgas, aluminum (of which Germany had more), manufactured goods that the USSR could not make for itself like electronics (radar, radios), heavy industrial manufactured items like locomotives and rail cars (which the USSR didn't make themselves after 1941, but imported from the US), food, more oil, uniforms, boots, synthetic rubber technology, etc.

    Also the pressure the UK and US exerted on the Axis also tied down enormous amounts of men and material that otherwise could have appeared on the Eastern Front or have been turned into material for use there (production limited/lost by UK/US bomber offensive). Without that and a straight-up European Axis on USSR fight, the USSR would have experienced far more Axis material and men, plus greater exploitation of that material, as the Axis would, as per the OP, have access to unlimited oil imports. Meanwhile the USSR has to produce the goods that historically were produced by her allies and shipped to here, which include tens of thousands of planes and trainers, motor vehicles, armored vehicles, and the high octane fuel to use them, plus the high tech electronics to get the most out of them in units.

    Even assuming the US and UK still provide Lend-Lease, the USSR may not have the benefit of having Murmansk or Iran as routes for goods. Which is a serious problem for the USSR, as 50% of goods came via those two routes. AND the Japanese would only let non-military goods come via Siberia, which would mean only raw materials and food could come via USSR shipping. Still pretty big problems

    Assuming the UK and US are not involved in the European War, which I suppose is the only way to make sense of the OP, as the Luftwaffe couldn't be minimally involved in the West with the UK bombing Germany and the Mediterranean front requiring so much German 'input', then the Luftwaffe is much stronger in the East. Historically about 45% of the Luftwaffe was not present in 1941 on the Eastern Front and by 1942 60% was required for other theaters, leaving only 40% for the Eastern Front. It dropped much more by 1943 and beyond. So with 100% of the Luftwaffe committed to the Eastern Front, Germany has its trump card. It had a major advantage in the training, experience, and ability of its air force, which the VVS was never able to match, except by 1945 after the US/UK killed the Luftwaffe in the West.

    So without the Western Front the Luftwaffe doesn't take as heavy of combat losses and with more oil can ensure its pilots are well trained even deep into the war. In that case the VVS gets much more attrition over what historically happened and the FW190 can rule the skies, as virtually all combat happened below 20k feet on the Eastern Front, the FW190's sweet spot. Without Allied bombing production would be much higher too and without the need to defend the skies above the Reich, Germany doesn't have to spend resources on things like night fighters and as many day fighters, allowing for more bombers and other aircraft to be produced, which all helps the Heer in ground combat, but also can be used to strike at Soviet logistics and the VVS infrastructure (bases and supply depots), which historically were pretty much were left alone by 1942-3.

    Plus with unlimited oil Germany can use her strategic bombers. The Ju290 was viable, as was the He177B by 1944. There were also a number of other designs which were equally viable if the Axis decided that they had to fuel to manufacture them. So the Soviets would have to worry about the Axis launching strategic strikes at their production, like Operation Eisenhammer, strikes on their centralized and vulnerable electricity production, and German bombing of Soviet oil produciton. As it was, Germany would have a radically different 1942 without the need to attack the Caucasus for Soviet oil and could just decide to attack to the Don river and develop a defensive line there, while bombing Soviet oil production with her bombers. That would be devastating to the VVS and the Soviet economy in general. As it was the USSR historically needed Allied oil imports to keep fighting effectively, even with her domestic production. "Too Little, Too Late" by Joel Hayward, as scholarly paper on the subject of Axis attacks on Soviet oil, is very informative about what the Axis missed out on.

    Short answer is the the USSR and the VVS would be in serious trouble if the Luftwaffe could focus more than a fraction of its resources on the Eastern Front. Its likely that the Soviets would have been worn down and stalemated without the West involved.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-110 Production. From Wikipedia.
    1940. 1,006 + 75 recon.
    1941. 594 + 190 recon.
    1942. 501 + 79 recon.

    The west absorbed most Me-110s from 1940 onward plus quite a few Ju-88s. That might be the most important factor. The Me-110 with 3cm Mk101 cannon was an excellent tank buster and the Ju-88A had an excellent combat record in the east. Put 1,000 or more Me-110 AT aircraft on the Russian front along with 1,000 or more additional Ju-88 light bombers and the Heer might kill the Soviet Union during 1941. Fuel and pilot shortages wouldn't be a factor if Germany wins during the first summer of Barbarossa.
     
  8. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    No amount of Luftwaffe bombers or oceans of oil are going to improve German logistics enough to let them win in 1941. They had truck shortages, spare parts shortages, lack of roads which bounced apart vehicles, weather problems, and just the sheer distance that even rail roads could not keep up with, as Germany lacked enough rail cars and locomotives to sustain her forces in the East, occupied Europe, and her own economy. There are far too many structural problems to allow a 1941 win even if Moscow is somehow taken, which is impossible logistically.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I disagree.

    According to Beria's son, Stalin expected to be arrested by members of the Politburo 30 June 1941. Punish the Soviet armed forces significantly more during the first 10 days of Barbarossa and that coup could happen. German logistics would not be an issue that early in the war.

    BTW, between Greece and North Africa the Heer should also have an additional field army for use during June 1941.
     
  10. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Stalin was a paranoid who had tens of millions murdered based on his 'expectations'. I don't take Stalin's fears as truth in that scenario.

    No argument there, but that increases the logistical burden on the already overstressed system during Barbarossa.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    :confused:
    Apparently we are talking about two different wars.

    Heer logistics were not overstressed during the historical June to September 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. Logistics would not become a serious problem until after months of heavy fighting that including advances of several hundred km into Soviet territory.

    Heer units historically used in North Africa and Greece had their own logistical support. So did Me-110s and Ju-88s employed against Britain during 1940 and 1941. If those units are available for Barbarossa their attached transport and depot units would be part of the package.

    Without operations in Crete and North Africa Barbarossa will also have an airborne corp and accompanying transport aircraft.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #12 bobbysocks, Oct 7, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
    i think if you took the west out of the scenario...and germany had not lost eqiupment, men and ac to the BoF and BoB...they may have been ready to take on russia a year earlier. the weather would not have been as huge a factor was it was later in the war. they would have denied russia a whole year to stock pile munitions, etc. ..which still didnt help. without the lend lease stop gap equipment germany's gains, i think, would have been significantly more. they could have driven far, but the country itself is so vast it would take several series' of conquest, consolidation, prepration, and campaigning. it would have had to be done in steps and many years. even if they had captured moscow and the government it would be a monumental task to subdue the entire country to the pacific ocean. the question would be how much of the russian territory would hitler be satisfied with and would the remaining area be able to pull together politically and militarily to pose a threat...
     
  13. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the initial fighting did not have logistical problems, but the fighting that was to culminate in the fall of the USSR, after Smolensk, was seriously beset with problems. Even leading up to closing the Smolensk pocket and later Kiev pocket had serious logistical problems, which was the result of rail roads being unable to sustain the advance and most vehicles breaking down, including aircraft. The sort of logistical support the extra troops that would be added with the deletion of Greece and North Africa (probably Yugoslavia too, as without the UK in the war there is little need to pressure the Yugoslavs to join the Axis and then cause the assassination of their king) would only be enough to bring forward supplies from rail heads to the front lines units, which isn't a problem before perhaps the beginning of September at the lastest. At that point the extra supply requirements for rail units is more than could be handled. Which means something has to give.

    As to the addition of the extra bombers, yes, it would be helpful early on, but historically the delay of Barbarossa was as much a function of the delay imposed by the Balkan campaign as the lack of readiness of the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front. Historically they lacked enough airfields for all of their aircraft until late June. Depending on when the UK exits the war that may nor may not be a problem. Either it is, in which case the early campaign gets no benefit from having extra bombers, which instead go into reserves, which then become available later in the campaign, which is really helpful around Moscow, but not war winning, or are available early on, which increases Soviet losses and reduces German ones, but is not war winning. Wear and tear would reduce numbers by the time of Moscow in this scenario, perhaps with several dozen more aircraft than historically was available, but this again is not war winning.

    Everything you describe above is all very helpful initially and later, but has either its own draw backs later, or is just not enough to win the war in 1941. Going after the Soviets is a multi-season campaign, but the lack of a Western enemy and the addition of all of the above is going to seriously benefit the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht overall in 1942 and on. The lack of oil problems prevents Stalingrad and the Caucasus adventure, which alone seriously tips the scales in the favor of the Axis immediately. They can gain a very strong line on the Don river and pummel Soviet oil and other infrastructure with impunity, while wiping out the VVS again in 1942. In 1943 the Luftwaffe is much, much stronger than it was historically, not just on the Eastern Front, but overall too. The VVS is weaker and again can be worn down by the Luftwaffe thanks to preserving its pilots, machines, and ground crews. The reduced losses for the army would also mean the Luftwaffe Field Divisions aren't created from Luftwaffe personnel, which means air units are again preserved in strength and increased actually, while the number of needless losses on the ground are dramatically reduced. In fact there probably isn't a Kursk without Stalingrad, so even better! Even if there was some sort of analogue, the Luftwaffe would be 3-4x stronger than it historically was, so would dominate the skies locally and prevent a Soviet build up. And then without a North African Campaign, the losses of Tunisia, nor the need to defend Sicily, Italy, and Greece the Wehrmacht would be stronger on the Eastern Front, much more so than even without the Stalingrad losses of men and material. Bad news for the Soviets, especially if German bombers are still hitting their oil and are going after their electrical infrastructure.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Now we are getting into political territory....

    Soviet aggressiveness in Finland, the Baltic States, Romania and Bulgaria was the deciding factor for the German decision to invade. Would Stalin be so aggressive without the promise of British and U.S. support? I doubt it.

    Would Poland refuse a plebiscite for Danzig without Britain and France encouraging Poland to seize the city in violation of the original League of Nations mandate? I doubt it.

    1939 Europe might be a whole new diplomatic ball game in this scenerio and there might not be an "Operation Barbarossa".
     
  15. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    That aggressiveness by Russia in the Baltic was already approved by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of Aug.39, trying to now give it as one of Hitlers excuses for invading in 41 is just nonsense.

    And the same for Polands failure to agree to a plebiscite in time. Germany had already decided to invade. Demanding Poland agree to a vote less than 2 days before they invaded was just Germany creating a casus belli, or excuse for war. Because Germany had already revealed it's intention to invade with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
     
  16. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #16 wiking85, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    What about Romania?
    Soviet aggression there was not completely authorized and directly threatened German oil interests. Not only that, but the Soviets wanted to renegotiate the Nazi-Soviet trade deals in Soviet favor while Germany was dependent and bogged down in the West.
    Soviet

    Poland was of course a naked bit of aggression by Hitler, no question, but there were some very worrying developments in the East during 1940 that primed Hitler for declaring war in 1941.
     
  17. Ascent

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    Considering that Britain nearly declared war on the Soviet union for invading Finland and were activley trying to support the Finns I hardly think the Soviets were acting with British support. There was no fromal support/alliance until after the German invasion.
     
  18. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    Not only that, but the Soviets were giving clear intention in late 1940 that they wanted to annex Turkey (German chromium source), re-try their luck in Finland (nickel), and a free hand in Bulgaria. They already violated their pack with the Germans when they invaded some territories of Rumania (German oil...) while the Battle of Britain was going on, and what that the German did not agreed to.

    The Soviet Union hoped for an imperialist war in the West, while cooking its own stew unattended in the East... Barbarossa study was initiated when the USSR began taking parts in Rumania the Germans did not agreed to, and it was authorized right after Molotov came to Berlin and gave Hitler these demands above. These were all essential to Germany because of their resources, so one just wonders wheter Molotov (Stalin) went nuts (unlikely), were serious about it or was just trying find out how far he can go still. In any case it was a deal breaker for Hitler (who at that point still tried to negotiate with the Soviets very hard) but as a result of these talks he decided that imminent war with the USSR is inevitable and he must strikes before it strikes first - and before America enters the war.
     
  19. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    They not violated pact in regard Moldavia (Bessarabia) that was indicated in the article 3rd of secret additional protocol of German-Soviet non aggresion pact
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Can you point to historical documents supporting your statement?

    Everything I have read suggests Britain was determined to have Stalin as a military ally even if he demanded both Poland and Finland. That British foreign policy became more pronounced after Churchill became PM.
     
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