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Mansteirn's Elastic Defense Feb - March 1944

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Fred Wilson, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    This thread is for all things related to Mansteirn's Elastic Defense Feb - March 1944 vs Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov

    Its 4 Am here. Got up for a pee... saw:

    Episode: Narrow Escapes of WW2
    How Manstein's retreat became the basis for Nato Defence Plans.

    The (excellent) Episode:s Video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x138k8v_6-narrow-escapes-of-world-war-ii-manstein-holds-the-line_shortfilms

    My particular query is interest in Russian Logistics.
    To supply a vast army like they did in as short a time as they did, they must have done record breaking repairs to rail lines.
    Yes they could have used destroyed rail lines as road beds as an interim emergency measure.
    But to get that much equipment that far forward that quickly one of the most epic story of the war must have included Russian Railway Line Workers.

    Any and all information related or otherwise will be most appreciated.

    _________________________

    Further reading references:
    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/975-von-manstein-a-critical-assesment/?hl=manstein
     
  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Narrow Escapes of WW2: Hitler's Warriors - Manstein The Strategist

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dueGnewPbFQ
     
  3. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The main flaw in the elastic defense is that it assumes that the Germanswill always know where the attack will take place. One reason for the success in operation Bagration was the Germans believed the main attack would start in the south and thus almost all of the armor was there.
     
  4. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    In summer 1944, Manstein wasn't in command anymore.
     
  5. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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  6. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    I wouldn't say Manstein was very succesful. He still lost heavily and was still driven from the Dniepr all the way to the eaves of the Carpathians.
     
  7. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Manstein could only act without or with little interference from Hitler between Stalingrad and Kursk. And then, he was very successful, regarding the circumstances. After Kursk, the Wehrmacht had lost too much material and had to deal with the invasion of Italy and the preparations for the defence of France.

    Manstein offered Hitler in 1943 a "Remis" with the Red Army in between a short time, so that the Wehrmacht could concentrate on the defence of western europe. But Hitler wasn't interested, he wanted all or nothing.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think the Kharkov 1943 spring backhand is a good example what Manstein could do with the elastic defence. Just like in the Ardennes where the Germans went as far as they could and had to leave all equipment as there was no fuel to help them retreat and no Back-up forces to help go ahead.
     
  9. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Again, the Kharkov attack only worked because the Soviets played right into his hands. If the Soviets had not advanced so far and spread their troops out when they were at the end of their logistics the losses would have been less.
     
  10. green slime

    green slime Member

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    But that is precisely the genius. To lure the enemy in to overstep. To have the foresight to be able to anticipate and encourage the enemy to do just what you want him to.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  11. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    So you are saying that the Soviets would make the exact same mistake every single time?? Bagration showed they learned their lesson and fooled the Germans into guessing the wrong place and time.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    They Soviets did overextend themselves at Kharkov both in 1942 and in 1943, so Manstein had probably little to do with it. There is a big difference between a planned offensive like Bagration, where the "Maskirovka" deception plan worked perfectly, and the "one more push" at Kharkov where the Soviets attempted to advance a little more before the Germans could recover from the Stalingrad disaster, the surprise In the "backhand blow" was that the SS Panzer corps was in much better shape than the Soviet believed, but that was probably more due to Hauser, that refused to let I be bled white, and possible get trapped, by defending the city itself, than to Manstein.

    Against a retreating, but not shattered, enemy, the defender grows stronger as it retreats over it's supply lines while the attacker gets weaker as it outruns his supplies, at one point this causes the front to stabilize, or if the attacker pushes too far and the defender has the nerves and will not to commit piecemeal it may even allow a successful counterattack. IMO the Soviets applied the Kharkov lesson not so much with Bagration as with the 1944-1945 offensives where they masterfully combined the "deep battle" doctrine with logistical stops.to create un unstoppable steamroller.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well, but it was Hitler who decided that the attack would come from the southern wing unlike the Generals facing the main attack who noticed some days before the attack there was a massive increase in enemy activity.

    "Even when increases were detected, such as Third Panzer Army’s discovery that “100 new guns” had appeared in their sector, the Soviet artillery preponderance was such that there were 200 guns for every single kilometer of front.[27]FHO had already settled on defending against a Ukrainian offensive, and so the warnings from the German front-line armies were ignored."

    http://automaticballpoint.com/2010/05/04/the-mask-of-the-bear-soviet-deception-in-operation-bagration/
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  15. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    "Elastic Defense" or "Schlagen aus der Hinterhand" - as Manstein called it - is a psychological method of warfare too.
    When leading an attack, it is just normal to push as far as possible as quick as possible, mainly when the enemy seems weak and in disorder. This is how german troops captured France in 6 weeks or reached Leningrad in 2 months.

    But there was always a gap between the tank forces and the infantry behind to secure the spearheads. This is where Manstein directed his counterattacks and not only reduced the lost ground but often regained territory. The ideal strategy for an army inferior in numbers, superior in quality.
     
  16. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Model managed to have AGC tank reserves transfered south so he was a willing participant. To blame it all on Hitler is a lame excuse, German Intelligence consistently failed to locate Soviet strategic reserves. One of the big causes of the failure is the Soviets allowed the Germans to detect the Soviet tank armies in the south. The other major failure was in the timing of the offenses. Instead of starting with the south, the Soviets started with Finland and then worked their way south. Ironically Model was attacked in the south after he started transferring units north to deal with the defeat of AGC
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Where on Earth did you read that in my post?

    Bagration showed just how stripped for resources the entire German army was in comparison to it's Eastern foe at that time. Had Germany had enough mobile reserves at that stage in 1944, (no) so... had the pathetic reserves they had not been elsewhere,.... the need elsewhere would've been greater, and we'd be hearing/reading about other great Soviet offensives. Had the Germans not bought the Bluff, the Soviets would've just shifted focus elsewhere. In 1944 their mobility advantages and therefore their strategic options were beyond the German ability to parry.

    It's all part and parcel of bluffing your opponent, and knowing the limits of your men. Basic skills you'd expect from any professional General.

    I'm not quite sure how your comment is relevant in relation to the OP. It's a bit remarkable that many of the senior leaders of the USSR took so long to learn these lessons. It's not like the Red Army had been sitting around playing tiddley-winks in since '38: Mongolia, Finland, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and had neither any form of education (perhaps they didn't read the military literature of history, nor other nations....), nor any means to disseminate information... IOW, they are themselves very ready to offer excuses for mistakes, but very keen to take credit. Human nature, I guess.

    But back when there actually was a few reserves prior to Kursk, the possibility existed to punish over-extending, as the Soviets were wont to do then, for a whole myriad of reasons. It was basically, the only chance the Germans had of inflicting large enough losses on the Soviets to make them doubt themselves (or their leadership), with less harm to their own men. Indeed, one can question the whole drive to Baku and the consequential disaster at Stalingrad. The 6th Army had no choice but stand or all troops in the Caucasus would've been lost. Considering no oil was gained, what was the point?
     
  18. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    My point is that the Soviets were learning their lessons. Dont forget Stalingrad was the first time they used large scale armored formations. I just find it silly to think the Soviets in 1943 would simply do the same mistake over again and allow the Germans to defeat them piecemeal.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm not sure it would have been a mistake at that point. If you can launch 3 offensives and your opponent can only defend against one why not press on with all 3 as far as possible. One may get cut off but the other two will gain as much as possible and possibly unhinge your opponents whole defence. Certainly by 44 while counter strokes by the Germans hurt locally did they really have a huge impact on the strategic picture?
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I don't think it was a matter of learning their lessons. I think the best Soviet leaders already knew the theory. They knew logistics.

    But it took a while to develop the skills of the junior officers, and to get Stalin's finger out of the pie. Therein lies the improving Red Army fortunes.

    It has to do with understanding your opponent's capabilities. It wouldn't necessarily be "the same mistake". It is about anticipating and countering your opponent's actions. No one plays the exact same chess game against an opponent.
     

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