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Old December 22nd, 2017, 08:39 AM   #21

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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
Well they could, but a US tank division could make it to the Siegfried line in what, a week?
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 02:33 AM   #22

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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.
Right after his successful counterattack, in March 1943, Manstein proposed withdrawing to the dneiper as part of a plan to repeat the success. Even though, in an apparent attempt to mollify Hitler, Manstein said there would be "no territory lost in the long run" his plan was rejected in favor of Kursk.
I think that if Manstein had really had his way he would've done what I just proposed--get behind the dneiper. In his Lost Victories he made it clear that Germany could've prevailed had it tried to fight the USSR to a standstill.

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By 1943 the Soviets had won, and were just deciding the shape of post war Europe at that point.
No I don't think a Soviet victory was certain. In theory, down to 6'43 the reich had adequate resources to prevent it. As late as February 1944, at Korsun-cherkassy, the Germans displayed a high degree of tactical superiority over soviet forces. If only they had excellent strategic leadership as well...
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 02:40 AM   #23

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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
Not ignoring the threat from the West, but giving it lower priority until the eastern enemy had been beaten. Ideally this could've been accomplished via negotiation in the summer of '42 or the spring of '43 (right after Manstein's success) or by the end of '43, after the failure of a hypothetical soviet offensive against a much better German defense line based partly on the dneiper.
But if the USSR remained in the war in mid '44, the Germans should've sought to stymie bagratian with nearly all available panzer forces, then turned west. The main defense line in the west should've been closer to the German border. It was an awful mistake to deploy elite panzer forces in Normandy where they--and their logistical tether-- got cut to ribbons by allied airpower.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 02:46 AM   #24

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Well they could, but a US tank division could make it to the Siegfried line in what, a week?
As part of redeployment (of roughly 50 infantry divisions) to the vicinity of the seigfried line, the Germans (in my scenario) would've destroyed bridges, roads, laid mines, established pakfronts etc. The idea was to just contain the allies until maybe 20 panzer divisions arrived from the East.
Note the Germans succeeded in holding up the allies for months even after the catastrophic rout at Falaise.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 09:16 AM   #25
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Not ignoring the threat from the West, but giving it lower priority until the eastern enemy had been beaten. Ideally this could've been accomplished via negotiation in the summer of '42 or the spring of '43 (right after Manstein's success) or by the end of '43, after the failure of a hypothetical soviet offensive against a much better German defense line based partly on the dneiper.
But if the USSR remained in the war in mid '44, the Germans should've sought to stymie bagratian with nearly all available panzer forces, then turned west. The main defense line in the west should've been closer to the German border. It was an awful mistake to deploy elite panzer forces in Normandy where they--and their logistical tether-- got cut to ribbons by allied airpower.
Germans did not expect Bagration.. Which was launched a couple of weeks after the Normany landings

In any case the scenario of a victory on the eastern front had been achieved in WW1 and Germany had still been defeated... So I am not sure that German leadership was very hot about giving up the west to try to achieve some sort of victory or stand off in the east

BTW, by June 1944 the soviets had some 20 000 aircraft vs 2 500 german, so they could get air superiority where they wanted... The Eastern front being big the germans Luftwaffe could still operate in some sectors of the front, but could not gain air superiority in a critical sector if the soviets decided otherwise.
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Old December 23rd, 2017, 09:33 AM   #26

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Germans did not expect Bagration..
They did expect it albeit not where it was actually launched, north of the pripyat marshes.

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In any case the scenario of a victory on the eastern front had been achieved in WW1 and Germany had still been defeated...
Yeah but there were a number of differences. In WWII the allies essentially didn't have France, and they were also heavily committed to the Pacific and Far East, which wasn't the case in WWI. In addition the nazi regime was inherently much tougher than the kaiser's, with enough support, even in adverse circumstances, to keep fighting.

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So I am not sure that German leadership was very hot about giving up the west to try to achieve some sort of victory or stand off in the east
It would've been politically problematic but still the best strategy.

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BTW, by June 1944 the soviets had some 20 000 aircraft vs 2 500 german, so they could get air superiority where they wanted... The Eastern front being big the germans Luftwaffe could still operate in some sectors of the front, but could not gain air superiority in a critical sector if the soviets decided otherwise.
The Soviets did launch substantial air strikes at the start of bagratian but it's noteworthy that as late as the spring of '44, advancing Soviet forces often came under air attack with little or no fighter cover. See e.g. Tank Rider.
Even if the Soviets technically had air superiority by 6'44, it was not a decisive factor. A much stronger German force, fighting on interior lines, and with Manstein in command, could've made things extremely tough for the Soviets (even if their main effort was initially unrecognized).
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Old December 24th, 2017, 02:39 PM   #27

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Some of the issues were caused by the general as much as Hitler. Possibly they may have sued for peace, with terms the Allies would accept.

By 1943, there was little hope the Axis could have won the war. Overlord was being planned, the USSR was winning in the East, and the Japanese were being pushed back in the Pacific.
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Old December 24th, 2017, 05:46 PM   #28

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This is German fetishization at its finest, no way could they have won at this point short of any divine miracle.
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Old December 25th, 2017, 12:11 AM   #29
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They did expect it albeit not where it was actually launched, north of the pripyat marshes.






The Soviets did launch substantial air strikes at the start of bagratian but it's noteworthy that as late as the spring of '44, advancing Soviet forces often came under air attack with little or no fighter cover. See e.g. Tank Rider.
Even if the Soviets technically had air superiority by 6'44, it was not a decisive factor. A much stronger German force, fighting on interior lines, and with Manstein in command, could've made things extremely tough for the Soviets (even if their main effort was initially unrecognized).
Rudel eventually was shot down

The Luftwaffe also strafed the D Day beaches..... it does not mean much

The eastern front being quite large it was always possible to launch air attacks on a given point, and the ennemy air force could not be everywhere.

The problem I have with most of these "what ifs" is that it is always assumed that the germans would and could do things better militarily (other factors are not taken into account , such as the german fuel shortage which limited the possibility of conducting mobile warfare etc...) while the allies would continue doing the same things (as if being led by a computer with a program that was set once and for all)
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Old December 25th, 2017, 02:04 AM   #30

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By 1943, there was little hope the Axis could have won the war.
Nobody says they could've won in the sense of beating the allies just fighting them to a standstill.
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