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If I may, I think JasonC's point is that they had reached a situation where if they did not send the troops from 15th Army, it really didn't matter if there was a pending invasion of Pas de Calais. If the Pas de Calais were the main effort, then 15th Army wasn't going to stop it as there were no more reserves to give them. They were all getting battered in Normandy. Yes Fortitude was an outstanding success, but for the German's there comes a time when you stop worrying about what MIGHT happen and start dealing with what is actually happening. In that sense Fortitude continued to work even when it really should not have mattered what the allies still had in England.

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My view is that in light of the horrible situation in 1944, every mistake of the German "Masters" at that time, was punished immediately. But this by itself doesn't imply that there was such a huge gap between the early and late German leadership.

If somebody wants to create a list of serious mistakes at operational and strategic level, he can do it easily for the "glorious" years of the German Army too.

France- Dunkirk (no it wasn't just Hitler. The "Master" Rundstend was also nervous and supported the pause)

North Africa- Complete lack of unity of command at strategic and operational level. Italians do things on their own (Greece) and later even when Rommel is there he can't control much of the army even after becoming Field Marshal. Not to mention other decisions related with supplies, Malta and so on.

Russia- The definition of Strategic and operational blunder according to many. If someone is surprised by the over optimistic German plans to crash Allies in Ardenness, then what can we say about the German plans to start a war with Russia without even a total mobilization?

At operational level we have more problems. Hitler and operational commanders have different views about the proper objectives. Tons of papers have been written about the dillema "Moscow or Kiev". Nomatter what your opinion is, the "Masters" committedbserious mistakes.

If you believe that going after Moscow was just a sign of maneuverist illusions, then Guderian the "Master" was lucky he wasn't allowed to go for it and have the fate of a modern Caster.

If you believe that Moscow was the right objective, then the Germans committed a serious blunder which cost them the war.

These are just some examples to point that things are more complicated than it first appears to be.

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URC, gosh that thin air was tough for the Soviets! Over 2,000 AFV;s and 600,000 killed, wounded and missing from thin air, must have been the elite air elemental detatchment! Either that or hitting thin air was a result of a masterful maskirovka operation,

the whole AGC has roughly 100 panzers when Bagration begins. average sector defended by a German infantry division in AGC was 30 km (Glantz). most Soviet fronts had 15-20 km wide attack sectors. armies 6-12 km.

in Normandy it was quite different. though by Cobra it's about the same or even worse, i suppose. too bad about the silly suicidal German counter -- the operation might have gotten interesting if it hadn't happened.

I really don't thing the Falaise Pocket and the destruction of army group centre can be compared, to be honest

yeah, i was commenting on the posts made about Bagration.

a detailed comparison between Overlord and Bagration / Lvov-Sandomierz might be interesting.

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URD - Um, methinks AGC has more like 500 AFVs at the start of Bagration. A lot of them are StuGs in independent formations or spread through the IDs 10 to 30 at a time, to be sure. But the turreted ones in PDs are a tiny fraction of the total. Also, several PDs arrive from AG South in a matter of days, some with up to 200 AFVs apiece initially.

Was German armor out of position and outnumbered before Bagration? Definitely. Was it non-existent? Not even remotely. That the Russians still managed to lose more AFVs -and even men - in their biggest operational success of the whole war is something of a scandal, and not frequently commented upon. It was an epic operational defeat for the Germans and the tactical "box score" of losses does not reflect any superior anything at the command level for the Germans. But those losses do still show abysmal tactical skills for the Russians, comparatively speaking. Even with huge odds, favorable strategic and operational direction and handling, and at the tactical level, late war experience, formations, equipment, and learned skills.

This isn't exceptional for the Russians, either. They are still taking outsized losses in the final offensives of the war into Berlin and Prague. The western allies outscored in absolute terms when they were winning big operationally; the Russians never pulled that off, whole war.

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I have read that there was a prevailing opinion in Berlin in Spring 1944 that Belarus just wasn't a probable Soviet target for a summer offensive. The Germans saw Ukraine as the most likely target, as it was the last heavily-populated bit of the Soviet Union still under German control, plus that sector had been relatively dormant since April.

An alternative Soviet summer offensive target, in the German view, was Moldova and Romania; this because the ground was extremely suitable to massed armor, plus if successful it would knock Romania out of the war. On the minus side, the Soviets had attempted a substantial push in April-May and gotten beaten up badly.

Likewise, the Baltic Front was seen as an improbable target as repeated Soviet attempts to push into Latvia had gotten chopped up, most recently in May. A big factor in the German defensive success, both sides knew, was that the Baltic region is wooded and wet, and that helps the defense.

The terrain in Belarus was (and is) worse than in the Baltic region. Indeed, it probably was the worst tank terrain on the entire Eastern Front (OK, maybe not Finland, but you get the idea) as of June 1944.

Belarus is swampy, wooded, and lightly populated. The road network is anything but dense and what roads there are are poor. Villages are scattered, usually destitute, and what fields there are are - generally speaking again - small. There is lots and lots of pine forest which tanks won't go through at all, and forest paths which tanks will churn into uselessness in short order. The low ground often is soggy and cut repeatedly with rivers and streams. The bridges most of them are not built to carry a heavy load, which of course includes tanks.

This I think goes a long way towards explaining why 1st Belorussian Front outnumbered AGC so heavily in armor. In the mind of the German senior command, Belarus was not a place where any reasonable army would conduct a major armored assault.

I am not going to argue that Zhukov's forces were most of them highly skilled in the western tactical sense, however, I would say the Belarusian terrain had an effect on how many tanks the Soviets lost. I would guess in aggregate dozens lost in bogs and river crossings. Far more important, the limited ground where tanks could be fielded meant the Germans had a better chance of organizing effective AT defenses. Equally important, short LOS played against the Soviet artillery advantage.

I think it's also worth remembering the Soviet priority never was winning the war via small unit tactical skill. They considered it useful if you had it but not the critical thing. What they did consider critical was mass (and so economy of force elsewhere) and pace.

From the Soviet perspective, the price paid in men and machines for the result Bagration gave - liberation of White Russia, invasion of Poland, and destruction of Armee Gruppe Center - was worth it. The campaign erased something like 300,000 soldiers and maybe 500 tanks and SP guns from the German army list - over the course of two months.

The Soviet focus, their top priority, never was preserving friendly forces. For them, small unit tactics and the resources and time needed to make them work, were not nearly so important as destruction of the enemy and the unhinging of the operational situation over the shortest time possible, and hang the material cost. Soldiers are material and expendable as well, to the Soviet way of thinking.

By that standard - which certainly was not one shared by the German or the Anglo-Saxon armies - Bagration was one of the most successful operations the Soviets ever conducted.

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"In the mind of the German senior command, Belarus was not a place where any reasonable army would conduct a major armored assault"

Um, they went straight through it with their own main effort in 1941. So that "explanation" - which is putting it charitably - is a non-starter.

As for the pretence that poor exchange ratios from poor tactical skills didn't matter to the Russians, of course it did. It was a standing scandal from late 1941 on, and the subject of practically every general staff study on how screwed up things were. They were not remotely boasting about it and they regarded it as a nearly terminal problem. Getting the tactical exchange ratios down to more manageable levels is precisely what the army as a whole needed to win the war by attrition processes.

It was a nearer run thing that many suppose, as it was. The late war offensives required mobilizing new manpower rapidly from areas liberated from German occupation. They could not have replaced their losses without that influx of new men. It is a testiment to the excellent mobilization abilities of the Russian army, clearly in evidence from the start, that they managed to pull that off - but without it, they would have run out of men for those big late war offensives.

Nor was the high rate of loss of Russian armor a function of terrain and thus specific to Belarus. The same was seen in the steppes of the south, in the Balkans late war, in the early fighting, on defense in 1942 or making underprepared counterattacks, you name it.

That it was not primarily a function of German tactical skills, either, is shown by the discrepancy between the loss ratios in the east and in the west or the Med.

At bottom this was a result of the relatively poor showing the Russian army displayed in the job of teaching tactics to its junior and field grade commanders, or in selecting for tactical skill as an organizational thing. And it wasn't because they thought it unimportant - their "lessons learned" documents are full of very basic things they tried to propogate to those levels. In them, it counts as a good example when a brigade commander uses the wrong arm for a job (sending infantry frontally instead of tanks on a turning movement e.g.), gets a bloody nose, and switches to a more effective method and succeeds thereby. Instead of oh I don't know, bellowing into the phone and running up the causalty list trying to force the men to try it again and hope for a better result.

There are definitely men in the Russian army who know better about all of it. But they can't be everywhere, they don't teach terribly effectively, their juniors don't learn all of it or don't last long enough to use it. The higher ups are POed about it, but they "settle". They ask for aggressiveness and compliance with orders and remove in draconian fashion for any failure on those scores, which they think they can expect from every officer. But not for tactical idiocy. It is too general and they'd have to relieve everybody.

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URD - Um, methinks AGC has more like 500 AFVs at the start of Bagration. A lot of them are StuGs in independent formations or spread through the IDs 10 to 30 at a time, to be sure. But the turreted ones in PDs are a tiny fraction of the total. Also, several PDs arrive from AG South in a matter of days, some with up to 200 AFVs apiece initially.

the operational worth of the AFVs is much lesser than the numbers would indicate, as the AFVs are spread and arrive piecemeal. but yeah, going does get rough when Soviets choose to or must attack German AFV units.

the level of German mobile unit concentrations is quite different from Normandy, though i suppose allies have partly themselves to blame for that (the attitude in running most ops would no doubt have been called defeatist & trotskyite by Soviet higher commanders). considering something like the 5.PD vs 5GTA battles, it would probably have turned into recreation of the battles around Orsha on Moscow-Minsk highway if Soviets had faced something like what allies faced in e.g. Goodwood.

That the Russians still managed to lose more AFVs -and even men - in their biggest operational success of the whole war is something of a scandal, and not frequently commented upon.

haha, well they didn't have the luxury of op. Lüttich. it's probably counterproductive to hint at something like this, on a forum with demographics like this one has, but the allied ops in Overlord were not exactly amazing either. even with Lüttich the AFV loss ratio is ridiculous, especially considering the odds.

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At bottom this was a result of the relatively poor showing the Russian army displayed in the job of teaching tactics to its junior and field grade commanders, or in selecting for tactical skill as an organizational thing. And it wasn't because they thought it unimportant - their "lessons learned" documents are full of very basic things they tried to propogate to those levels. In them, it counts as a good example when a brigade commander uses the wrong arm for a job (sending infantry frontally instead of tanks on a turning movement e.g.), gets a bloody nose, and switches to a more effective method and succeeds thereby. Instead of oh I don't know, bellowing into the phone and running up the causalty list trying to force the men to try it again and hope for a better result.

There are definitely men in the Russian army who know better about all of it. But they can't be everywhere, they don't teach terribly effectively, their juniors don't learn all of it or don't last long enough to use it. The higher ups are POed about it, but they "settle". They ask for aggressiveness and compliance with orders and remove in draconian fashion for any failure on those scores, which they think they can expect from every officer. But not for tactical idiocy. It is too general and they'd have to relieve everybody.

There is a question of culture as well. After 25 years of Soviet rule, all remaining citizens had learned that showing any initiative was dangerous to your health. Lower elements from junior officers down to ordinary privates always waited for orders from above when they encountered a situation that differed from the plan. That inevitably lead to missed opportunity or higher casualties when junior officers insisted on following orders irrespective of the situation on the ground.

The Soviet Army in 44-45 compensated for the weakness at the bottom, by having very competent generals at the top, not only in command , but in the planning staff as well.

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That the Russians still managed to lose more AFVs -and even men - in their biggest operational success of the whole war is something of a scandal, and not frequently commented upon. It was an epic operational defeat for the Germans and the tactical "box score" of losses does not reflect any superior anything at the command level for the Germans. But those losses do still show abysmal tactical skills for the Russians, comparatively speaking. Even with huge odds, favorable strategic and operational direction and handling, and at the tactical level, late war experience, formations, equipment, and learned skills.

The Russians inflicted far more casualties on the Germans in the initial weeks than they lost. The problem was the Allies were ashore in the west and the race was on to stake out the post-war spheres of influence. Bagration was kept going far longer than it should have been, and as the operation dragged on soviet losses increased exponentially as wear and tear reduced equipment numbers, supplies failed to keep up and be concentrated on the scale to generate overwhelming firepower needed to disloge the fresh German units.

As operations go on the sharp end of the army is blunted and casualties increase dramatically. When enemy resistance hardens and the advance slows, most armies call off the operation. The Soviets routinely did not during WWII, they ruthlessly kept the operation going until every last meter of territory was taken. Stalin was not going to be kept contained in his 1941, or worse, 1939 boarders by a rapid allied victory in the west. This is why you never see such an extensive deception operation as Bagration again, even though the Soviets were capable of it, they would not waste the time on it now that the race was on for post-war europe. Stalin would spill blood for land, where as most other armies would forsake additional land to preserve their mens blood.

Stalin simply did not care about kill death ratio's, but the mediocre soviet k/d in bagration is not an indication of tactical inferiority, more a simple result of Soviet offensive policy which sought to gain every inch of territory possible. Men were replaceable in a country a large as Russia.

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I also think the Soviet Doctrine relied on shattering the MLR so that armoured units could exploit, this shattering process needed to be rapid and rapidity against defenders equal high casualties. Soviet doctrine was tempo-dominated, as one German said, the Russians attacked us and suffered heavy casualties, but they succeeded in driving us from our prepared positions in a matter of hours.

Democracies, by their nature, respect the lives of their own, and often other citizens, totalitarian regimes subscribe to extreme teleology. One final point, how many German soldiers surrendered to the Western Allies, when they could have carried on fighting, knowing of fair treatment and far better conditions than they had left behind? How many Germans surrendered to the Russians thinking the same?

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The antidote to the nonsense excuses about just accepting higher casualties is to read what the Russians officers are actually saying about it. They are livid that their formations do not perform as well as the German ones of comparable size, and at the boneheaded stupidity that is throwing away military resources for so little. It is not a matter of other armies pulling their punches out of higher loss aversion, it is a matter of other armies behaving far more intelligently at the tactical level and thereby getting far fewer men killed.

When an infantry attack should be conducted by infiltrating a battalion at night and firing at what they can see in the morning, from static positions, and with fire on call, it is much more expensive to go over the top at dawn with the entire regiment.

When an attack should be conducted by sending infantry through difficult terrain to get around and behind an enemy position blocking a limited route that armor can use (whether through heavy forest or swamp, or a bridge, or rough high ground), it is much more efficient to wait 8 hours for that to be accomplished than to fire away at the stopper and charge at it frontally.

When the enemy brings up his own armor it may be far more efficient to immediately go over to the tactical defense, pull friendly tanks back behind the infantry screen, and then slide them in front of chosen sectors where fire dominance can be achieved - than for anyone already in contact to maintain it and every other tank in the area to charge into LOS as fast as possible trying to help out.

When an enemy fortified position needs to be silenced, it may be far more efficient to send forward small teams of specialists under low visibility (night or fog or artificial smoke) than to try to overwhelm the position with infantry numbers or massive artillery fire, handling both of which are the strongest suits of such positions.

Massing on the breakthrough sector to achieve penetration is a great idea against infantry defenses but only multiplies losses against an artillery fire zone and minefield based defense.

In attacks, the reserve should be sent to the most successful sector but stubborn attempts to stick to the plan frequently lead inexperienced commanders to instead send them to the least successful sector, trying to get everyone back on track. This wastes those reserves on the toughest defense and solves the defender's main problem (to equalize odds ratios along the frontage) for him.

All too often, in most such calls the Russians field level commanders tended to apply one formula and to apply it mechanically, rather than adapting to the specific tactical task in front of them with a whole bag of tools.

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Ok DT, I am officialy confused!

Jason, if all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. Sure they theoretically had more tools but were urged from higher up to use a hammer, or else. Frontline soldiers, command etc are acutely aware of losses, they experience the results first hand, higher echelons less so.

Bottom line, the Western Allies were aware that horrific losses were unacceptable (especially the British) so their military doctrines strove to achieve results using doctrine and technology. The Russian leadership has never had any qualms about wasting mens lives to solve problems, be it prestige engineering projects or military campaigns. The Communists were also burdened by centuries of neglect in education and technological investment, without their ruthless pursuit of modernity, plenty more Westerners would have died at the Hands of the Nazis.

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With all the combined intelligence here I wonder why the Afghanis don't realise they are well beaten.

What is it with you?

This discussion had nothing to do with Afghanistan, and then you come in here and throw out a gratuitous insult about the wisdom of those posting, drag politics into it (in blatant disregard for the wishes of Battlefront), and post NOTHING useful to the conversation.

Please take it somewhere else.

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To be charitable to DT I think he was suggesting CMBN and CMA could be combined, SS in the Korengal Valley anyone? Sounds like one of the World in Flames supplements, the one with the pair of 262's flying over the Taj Mahal, Asia in Flames, I think, or perhaps Puppets in flames!

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Historically it is a known fact that the German made 75 and 88 High Velocity guns were far superior. Americans early on relied mostly on shear numbers.

There was a version of the Sherman that has a HV 76 that could compete with german armor available in Jul. 1944. Brits had a 17 pounder version that also did well. The 75mm that we see in game is not capable of penetrating Panther or Tiger front armor.

Something else to keep in mind is that a Sherman cannot pivot in place and thus is very weak in Urban environments.

Other wise it was not until the M26 Pershing hit the battle field in 1945 with a 90mm that the US had a comparable tank to the Panther or Tiger.

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The 75mm that we see in game is not capable of penetrating Panther or Tiger front armor.

Yeah. So? Ninety-five percent of the time, Shermans were not facing German tanks. For everything else, the 75 was the better gun because the HE shells had a larger bursting charge. American tanks faced far more ATGs and AT weapons in the hands of the infantry than they faced German tanks. People need to stop obsessing about tank vs. tank performance. It matters, sure, but so do all the other things that tanks have to do.

Michael

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