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Old December 21st, 2017, 08:24 AM   #11
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I realize that. As I posted before, early in '43 Stalin was very concerned the Germans would base their defense on this river. Btw while the area farther north has no dneiper, its terrain is rougher and easier to defend than the Ukraine. The Soviets in '43 made the bulk of their progress in the southern sector.



In February-March 1943 Manstein was able to smash advancing Soviet armor before it reached the dneiper. Had the Germans pulled back behind the river after that, their defense would've been much more formidable. Btw the allied success relied on a very big advantage in airpower; the USSR had nothing comparable and the Luftwaffe was still able to provide very effective close support e.g. Rudel.



Had the Germans established a much stronger defense behind the dneiper by about May 1943, the Soviets might've despaired of ever breaking through, or the costs incurred in a failed attempt might've led them to negotiate and reach a deal before 1944.




Right. Had the war continued on two fronts to then, I would've concentrated nearly all of the armor in the East, with Manstein in command, to smash or seriously disrupt bagration, before sending troops back west to stop an invasion of the reich. But that's for a different thread.



But at the relevant time of this thread c mid '43, or right after stalingrad but before Kursk--or without it--both sides in the East had excellent reasons to doubt a military solution was possible and hence negotiate. Stalingrad essentially convinced te Germans they couldn't finish off Russia but the 3/'43 Manstein counterattack demonstrated to the Soviets that regaining their turf by force could be a horrendously slow and costly proposition. There have been in fact claims that secret negotiations did in fact occur. Had Adolf been taken out, the reich could've been more flexible and reached a satisfactory settlement. In addition, the Soviets--and later the western allies--might've felt they could better trust a reich without adolf.
A lot of assumptions here...

The northern terrain, was the more direct invasion route in both 1812 and 1941... While there is some difficulty its not unsurmountable either (and thats where Bagration shattered army group center in 1944 as you know).

In March 1943 Manstein caught exploiting soviets unaware as they thought after Stalingrad the Germans did not have the forces to pull this out... I am not sure he would have been able to repeat the feat....

Germany pulling its forces behind the Dniepr basically lets the soviets advance unopposed and recover lots of ground at minimal cost... They then can wait for winter, where the Dniepr is no longer much of an obstacle...
In any case I dont see the soviets given up in 1943... The situation was much more critical in fall 1941 when the germans were within reach of Moscow and panic was taking hold.... and yet they did not give up.... arguably it was also much more difficult in fall 1942 with the germans running loose in the Caucasus and besieging what was left of Stalingrad...
With the axis thrown out of Africa, the allies in Italy and Germany being reduced to rubble from the air, the soviets could sit and wait... Not sure what would have been a basis for negotiation ? What could a deal have looked like ?
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Old December 21st, 2017, 03:45 PM   #12
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Why is there this obsession with "if Germany had done this or that, would they have won or at least not lost WW2"... there must be dozens of threads with the same intent ?

Are people really so disappointed that Germany lost ?

I know !!!

Where are the threads that speculate on how Germany could be beaten more quickly ?
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Old December 21st, 2017, 03:58 PM   #13

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What if the German military deposed Hitler in a coup in 1943 before Citadel, leaving Hitler as a powerless figurehead? And say von Rundstedt gets appointed as chief of the OKW and Keitel gets a mega estate somewhere in Poland as a retirement gift? What if the Wehrmacht decides to suspend the Holocaust in return for Jewish help with atomic bomb physics which is where the Germans couldn't get their act together, so that the Germans at least get on the right track as far theory went with regards to what is the required critical mass etc. How will these change the course of the war? Basically the Germans decide to hold the entire Jewish population hostage in return for the bomb, the German military also takes operational control in the East so military operations start to make more sense tactically, for example no declaring fortress cities that are to be held to the last man, and outflanked units are given permission to withdraw without unnecessary delay, or Citadel gets canned in favor of a more limited offensive or going in the defensive or all of 1943.
The Soviets blow up the Reichstag in May 1945.
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Old December 21st, 2017, 04:01 PM   #14

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Way too late



What if the Nazis had orbital mind control lasers?
What if Chesty Puller was made supreme commander of the ETO in 1942?
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Old December 21st, 2017, 04:04 PM   #15

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I know !!!

Where are the threads that speculate on how Germany could be beaten more quickly ?
Indeed. I would like these threads more.

What if the USSR backs Poland? What if the allies invad France instead of Italy?
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 02:29 AM   #16

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The northern terrain, was the more direct invasion route in both 1812 and 1941... While there is some difficulty its not unsurmountable either (and thats where Bagration shattered army group center in 1944 as you know).
The Ukraine was harder to defend so the Soviets made most of their earlier ('43) gains there. Bagratian owed much to the dismissal of Manstein and diversion of the reich's best units to the west.

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In March 1943 Manstein caught exploiting soviets unaware as they thought after Stalingrad the Germans did not have the forces to pull this out... I am not sure he would have been able to repeat the feat....
Manstein battered Vatutin late in November 1943 despite all the German losses (and diversion of forces) to then. Had the Germans established a defense behind the Dneiper in April 1943, they would've incurred far fewer losses than in real life, fighting to the east around kursk and kharkov. With a better defense line and much stronger forces, Manstein probably would've shattered any major soviet offensive.

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Germany pulling its forces behind the Dniepr basically lets the soviets advance unopposed and recover lots of ground at minimal cost...
Loss of territory was unavoidable in any case.

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They then can wait for winter, where the Dniepr is no longer much of an obstacle...

It's not just the water but the cliffs or high banks IIRC besides stronger forces in prepared positions.


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In any case I dont see the soviets given up in 1943... The situation was much more critical in fall 1941 when the germans were within reach of Moscow and panic was taking hold.... and yet they did not give up....
I'm sure the Soviets would've been all too happy to negotiate then, or in the summer of '42, but German hubris made that impossible.


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With the axis thrown out of Africa, the allies in Italy and Germany being reduced to rubble from the air, the soviets could sit and wait...
Not with a war still officially going on. They'd have to try something but better nazi preparations could've made it too ill-advised.

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Not sure what would have been a basis for negotiation ? What could a deal have looked like ?
German withdrawal from all territory the soviets held down to August 1939, with the reich keeping eastern Poland and the baltic states, or at least lithuania and latvia.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 03:10 AM   #17
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German withdrawal from all territory the soviets held down to August 1939, with the reich keeping eastern Poland and the baltic states, or at least lithuania and latvia.
From the soviet perspective, good deal.....and what's to keep us from striking at the germans once they have given us back our territory, comrade ?

Hence from the german perspective a risky gamble... I am sure they would much prefer a deal with the western allies
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 04:46 AM   #18

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From the soviet perspective, good deal.....and what's to keep us from striking at the germans once they have given us back our territory, comrade ?
Even after German forces are diverted to the west, the USSR wouldn't necessarily attack. It didn't attack in June 1940, when it had in theory a golden opportunity: very little of the Wehrmacht stood between its forces and Berlin. It's possible the Soviets would hope the Germans and western allies would first beat themselves to a pulp fighting one another and attack if that happened. But it's also possible that soviet withdrawal from the war, and elimination of Adolf, would induce the western allies to seek terms rather than attempt D-Day. Even if most German forces are actually engaged, the soviets may consider it too risky to try anything. Remember Tannenburg.


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Hence from the german perspective a risky gamble... I am sure they would much prefer a deal with the western allies
Of course but as Goebbels noted, it would've been easier to make peace with Stalin. The USSR was incurring far heavier losses, and Stalin seemed more approachable and practical than Churchill ("a romantic adventurer with whom one can't talk sensibly" as Goebbels put it).
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 05:14 AM   #19

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Your appreciation of Mannstein is misplaced. Kursk was his plan, and it was a wall of stupid, that permanently turn Ed over the initiative to the Soviets.

By 1943 the Soviets had won, and were just deciding the shape of post war Europe at that point.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 06:37 AM   #20

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The Ukraine was harder to defend so the Soviets made most of their earlier ('43) gains there. Bagratian owed much to the dismissal of Manstein and diversion of the reich's best units to the west.
Diversion of forces was critical, if they wanted to attempt to contain the D-day landings, so ignoring the threat from the West isn't a good option
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