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Old January 2nd, 2018, 05:52 AM   #171

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It was his plan. He offered options to Hitler. One was pinching off the Kursk salient to regain the initiative. Hitler went for it.
Right after his March success, Manstein proposed withdrawing to the dneiper, then attacking from the Kharkov area to trap pursuing soviet forces. He hoped this plan, in which "no territory was lost in the long run" would be acceptable but it wasn't....I think that if had really had his way, he would've gladly sacrificed territory to put his forces in a stronger position to contain the soviets on a lasting basis, which he believed possible.
The original proposal to pinch off the Kursk salient was made before the soviets had had time to really strengthen it.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 06:57 AM   #172
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No, I'm not. For nearly a year, between Kursk and bagratian, the Soviets made limited headway in the north, preferring to focus their efforts in the south where the terrain made defense much harder for the Germans, at least without the dneiper barrier. Had they made timely use of that barrier, they would've been in a much stronger position north and south.
I'll agree that fortifying a line of defenses starting on the Dneiper would have been more successful than what they did. And that they could have pulled back and occupied them without worrying about being routed in a retreat to prepare defensive positions.

However, against an enemy with tactical air superiority, against modern military equipment and weapons, the Germans were not going to win attempting to perform their historic defense in depth. It would have delayed things a bit, killed far more Soviets (not that they cared), but in the end Germany would still lose because they had no way to get the US out of the war and we had atomic bombs by summer of '45. Whatever Germany does, they lose the war by summer '45.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 02:27 AM   #173

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However, against an enemy with tactical air superiority,
As I posted before, this is questionable at best. Look what Rudel was able to accomplish. The soviet air force was nowhere near as important a factor as the allied one.

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against modern military equipment and weapons, the Germans were not going to win attempting to perform their historic defense in depth. It would have delayed things a bit, killed far more Soviets (not that they cared),
Again, much would've depended on whether the Soviets could make headway against a much stronger German defense. If they failed to do this, or if they thought the task too daunting from the start, in spring '43, they probably would've agreed to a negotiated settlement. In fact, as I said, there were reports of secret peace negotiations before Kursk, even though the Germans did not withdraw behind the dneiper. Stalin was very worried that the Germans would establish a too-formidable defense line based on it. If he was willing to negotiate, presumably on the basis of the popov setback (which showed just how tough it would be to drive the Germans back, even without a dneiper line) I think there was an excellent chance he'd agree to peace (faced with a dneiper defense) by mid '43 (on good terms--maybe a return to the borders of August 1939 with the reich keeping eastern Poland, Lithuania and latvia).

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but in the end Germany would still lose because they had no way to get the US out of the war and we had atomic bombs by summer of '45. Whatever Germany does, they lose the war by summer '45.
But, again, if Russia were out of the war by the end of '43 or earlier, the reich would've been in a much better position to exploit the achilles heel of its western enemies--democracy. Oh sure, in theory, the conventional might of the West alone might've ensured victory in the end. But the problem was, without the USSR, there was an excellent chance the allies would've gotten bogged down, with heavy casualties, and the political effects might've been felt before the end of '44, if FDR lost the elections.
Assuming as the OP does, that adolf is out of the picture, the Germans might've adopted a more workable approach in the West as well as in the East. It wasn't a good idea to deploy big forces as far west as Normandy, where they and their logistical tether would get cut up by allied air power. The Germans should've kept just minor forces in France, which would've withdrawn, blowing up bridges, roads and rail as they did so. The main defense line should've been much closer to Germany, with pakfronts and ambushes, backed by heavy artillery, while big panzer reserves, partly from Russia, would be held in reserve behind them. Think of the casualties and setbacks the allies could've incurred (it was bad enough in real life in the huertgen forest, arnhem etc). Assuming good German generalship without adolf, things could've gotten awful dicey for the allies. Inevitably there would've been political repercussions--probably a new administration, modified war aims and a negotiated settlement--months before the first a-bomb was ready.

Last edited by starman; January 3rd, 2018 at 02:32 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 04:28 AM   #174

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By 1943 the Soviets would never settle for Germans in the USSR. That's not worthy of serious consideration. There is no evidence of negotiation in 1942 much less 1943 when the Soviets went on the strategic offensive.

As noted any delay just leads to radioactive clouds over Germany.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 01:53 AM   #175

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By 1943 the Soviets would never settle for Germans in the USSR.
Of course Stalin wanted his turf back. See what I wrote above, and prior to that. As part of a negotiated settlement, without Adolf, the USSR could've been restored to its August 1939 borders.

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There is no evidence of negotiation in 1942 much less 1943 when the Soviets went on the strategic offensive.
There definitely have been reports of secret negotiations in 1943, after Manstein's late winter success had stabilized the front, and demonstrated to the Soviets that driving the Germans back could prove prohibitively costly. At the time, circumstances were ripe for negotiation. The Germans would've been in an even better position to bargain had they been deployed where Stalin feared they'd be.....

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As noted any delay just leads to radioactive clouds over Germany.
As I said repeatedly, this could've been avoided had the reich done things right in the east and west beginning c April 1943 at the latest.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 04:12 AM   #176

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Why do you think the Russians would have accepted that? That's not logical. They were going to end the Germans after what had been done to them, else the Germans would do it again. Also why do you think the German army would have given up it's gains. Neither is logical.

At the end of the day the Germans lose, and may be radioactive.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 02:05 AM   #177

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Why do you think the Russians would have accepted that? That's not logical.
Because the alternative (especially given withdrawal to the best defense line, behind the dneiper) could well be endless, futile stalemate and slaughter. A peace based on return to the Soviet borders of August 1939 would enable Stalin to regain the bulk of lost turf at zero cost militarily, and he could say he had "liberated all lost Soviet territory."



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They were going to end the Germans after what had been done to them, else the Germans would do it again.

Na, by 1943 the Germans (again assuming as the OP does that adolf is gone) would accept the verdict of two years of very costly war, that the USSR could not be conquered or overrun.


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Also why do you think the German army would have given up it's gains. Neither is logical.
By 1943 it was very logical. The reich had to make peace with the USSR soon, and to do that it probably had to return everything except poland, lithuania and latvia. No doubt, such a pullout would be politically problematic. But assuming the soviets agreed--and the alternative could be awful for them too--the Germans could say they gained at least something from the eastern war.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 03:59 AM   #178

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That's the false premise. Withdrawal to the Dneiper at best only delays the inevitable.

After 1942 the Germans were never able to stop a Soviet advance, nor an Allied advance at a river.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 04:20 AM   #179

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Why do you think the Russians would have accepted that? That's not logical. They were going to end the Germans after what had been done to them, else the Germans would do it again.
And for that reason, the Soviets kept German POW's for ten years after the war had ended. There is photographic evidence of released, uniformed ex-prisoners being marched back to Germany.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 04:51 AM   #180
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Why would withdrawal to the Dnieper delay anything when it didn't do so historically? Where would the extra forces come from? Wouldn't it also mean stronger Red Army? Why would a fortified line hold now, when such lines were already obsolete at the start of the war(Mannerheim line, Maginot line, Stalin line)?
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