What should the Germans have done to drag things out after Kursk?

Jul 2016
9,558
USA
#2
Retreat to the Dnieper and try to fortify it before the Red Army reached them. That might have bought them a few months.

But Hitler hated the idea of his army group and army commanders constantly requesting permission to fall back, or requesting to build fortified positions to fall back to, because to Hitler, and he had a point, as soon as they remotely had the opportunity, in terms of resistance, they'd retreat to the safety of that line. Then another line to the rear...

Sooner or later, they lose everything they took in 41-42, then they lose allies, then they lose Romanian oil. All of great strategic importance, and yet something few of the field marshals and generals ever bothered to contemplate.

Funny though, in '44, when Normandy was starting to collapse, Hitler denied fortifying the Siene but did authorize the rearming of the West Wall, which bought Germany half a year of survival.

All that crap about how the Germans didn't want to fight the Western Allies, bull. Had they not fortified the Rhineland the Western Allies would have been in Berlin by Jan-Feb.
 
Oct 2015
363
Belfast
#3
I recently read a report that Hitler was delighted that a second front had opened in Europe on June 6, 1944. An Allied invasion was expected. Hitler fell for the deception that the Normandy invasion was a decoy and the real one would come via the Pas de Calais, a few weeks later.
 
Jul 2017
59
France
#5
It was not Kursk that pushed the Germans to take refuge behind the Dnieper, but the battle of Smolensk (1943) and the Donbass Strategic Offensive (August 1943).
 
Likes: sparky
Jul 2016
9,558
USA
#6
I recently read a report that Hitler was delighted that a second front had opened in Europe on June 6, 1944. An Allied invasion was expected. Hitler fell for the deception that the Normandy invasion was a decoy and the real one would come via the Pas de Calais, a few weeks later.
Not just Hitler, everyone was happy. They wanted it to be over quickly. The plan was to defeat the Allies, set them back a year or more, then move the 35 divisions to the East, use as an operational reserve to retake Ukraine.
 
Jul 2016
9,558
USA
#7
It was not Kursk that pushed the Germans to take refuge behind the Dnieper, but the battle of Smolensk (1943) and the Donbass Strategic Offensive (August 1943).
After Kursk. After OP Citadel was called off, the Red Army kicked off a large series of offensives, against the Orel salient, etc. By the end of the summer and into fall, Army Group South was a battered force. Manstein screwed up by deploying most of his armor to the Mius River, and that opened him up elsewhere. By the time Hitler gave permission to fall back to the Dnieper, some Red Army formations managed to beat the retreating Germans. Sadly for the German troops (lol, no sympathy), they expected to fall back on comfortable and solid fixed fortifications, to catch a breather and allow them to defend the western side of the river, but no such defenses existed because previously Hitler had banned the creation of them.

So the battle of the Dnieper was definitely going to happen, it was just a matter of when. They really ought to have build the defenses, its not like they didn't have the slave labor already. Considering how many individuals like Model routinely killed during German retreats when he purged the ground between the front lines and the retreating point, they could have moved those civilians to construct the defenses, then done with them what Germans typically did. The only thing preventing that was Hitler's obsession with not allowing retreats nor sturdy fall back positions.
 

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