OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

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[EUG]MadMat
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OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Sat 25 Aug 2018 14:53

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While waiting for SD2, maybe you would like to improve your knowledge about Operation Bagration, the offensive which broke the German Army's back.

Here are some books I had or have been reading since we started working on this setting.

BAGRATION & FOLLOW-UP OPERATIONS
• Bacyk (Norbet), Warsaw II : The Battle for Praga : July - September 1944 (Operations: East Front 1944)
• Davies (Norman), Rising’ 44: The Battle of Warsaw
• Dunn (Walter S. Jr.), Soviet Blitzkrieg: The Battle for White Russia, 1944
• Forczyk (Robert), Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1943-1945: Red Steamroller
• Glantz (David), Belorussia 1944: The Soviet General Staff Study
• Heidkämper (Otto), Vitebsk: The Fight & Destruction of the Third Panzer Army
• Hinze (Rolf), Der Zusammenbruch der Heeresgruppe Mitte im Osten, 1944 (not translated in English I'm afraid)
• Hinze (Rolf), East Front Drama - 1944
• Hinze (Rolf), To the Bitter End: The Final Battles of Army Groups North Ukraine, A, Center – East Front 1944-45
• Lopez (Jean), Opération Bagration: la revanche de Staline (Eté 1944)
• Mitcham (Samuel W. Jr.), The German defeat in the East: 1944-45
• Niepold (Gerd), Battle for White Russia: The destruction of Army Group Center, June 1944
• Tucker-Jones (Anthony), Stalin’s Revenge: Operation Bagration and the Annihilation of Army Group Center

GERMAN ARMY
• Giolitto (Pierre), Volontaires français sous l’uniforme allemand
• Leleu (Jean-Luc), La Waffen-SS: Soldats Politiques en Guerre
• Regenberg (Werner), Armored Vehicles and Units of the German Order Police (Ordnungspolizei) 1936-1945

SOVIET ARMY
• Abdulin (Mansur), Red Road from Stalingrad: Recollection of a Soviet Infantryman
• Drabkin (Artem) & Sheremet (Oleg), T-34 in action
• Dunn (Walter S. Jr.), Hitler’s Nemesis: The Red Army, 1930-1945
• Lopez (Jean) & Otkhmezuri (Lasha), Grandeurs & misères de l’Armée Rouge
• Pyl’cyn (Alexander V.), Penalty Strike: The Memoirs of a Red Army Penal Company Commander, 1943-45
• Zaloga (Steven) & Ness (Leland S.), Red Army Handbook 1939-1945
• Armor at War Series' #7011, Soviet Tanks in Combat 1941-1945
• Osprey's New Vanguard's #247 Soviet Lend-lease Tanks of World war II

OOB/TO&E
• Dr. Niehorster's website
Bayonet Strength's website, alas defunct ... ;(
• Robert J. Edwards, Tip of the Spear: German Armored Reconnaissance in Action in WW2
• Osprey's Battle Order #38 Panzer Division 1944-45

If you know some which you feel should be in that list, please let me know ... :)

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby Destraex » Sat 25 Aug 2018 15:33

Good stuff thanks for sharing. I have a tonne of books but only one osprey book specific to bagration.
Might take you up on this. However I tend to be disappointed when I get all study like and then the game I am waiting for comes out and does not meet my expectations. Steel Division though does for the most part.
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby varis » Sun 26 Aug 2018 14:37

Watched a documentary last night and it was quite amazing, just how done Germany was at the point*. In terms of operable tanks, aircraft - no chance. A bit of a surprise that the Germans could delay the offensive at all, on the other hand the Soviet success was phenomenal, because, well I guess you have to read the books for all the reasons. This time it was the infantry losses that were devastating in the form of the number of troops captured or just cut off. The moral victory was huge and I guess after OB the writing was on the wall. Going to be interesting whether Eugen is planning to model the highly stacked odds at all, could be a nice opportunity to make something really different.

At the same time, tremendous pressure was put on the Finnish front for some reason, can't recall the rationale right now. Success was a bit lackluster, considering the goals and the effort expended, due to strong defense and outstanding use of artillery. (Recently watched a nice old documentaries about the Karelian and Tali-Ihantala battles.) Finnish losses were unusually heavy though and the situation was dire for the Finnish army - with the Allied landing earlier and Germany's grip on North-East Europe loosening, Finland decided it was a good time to surrender, very quickly after Operation Bagration.

*) Incorrect, see the reply from RoyalColor below
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby Kagemusha » Sun 26 Aug 2018 17:14

"Opération Bagration, la revanche de Staline" de Jean Lopez. Excellent livre, d'abord parce qu'il est en français :D ensuite, il garde un sens chronologique des évènements. Pas simple, car l'auteur insiste sur le fait que cette opération découle d'opération antérieurs, de leur analyse et ensuite d'une adaptation à une situation nouvelle...Enfin il intègre les développements tactiques mais aussi décisionnels de part et d'autres.


L'ensemble vous plonge littéralement dans le bureau des états majors puis sur le champ de bataille.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby [EUG]MadMat » Sun 26 Aug 2018 17:21

Kagemusha wrote:"Opération Bagration, la revanche de Staline" de Jean Lopez. Excellent livre

En effet, très bon livre, Lopez décrit parfaitement les mécanismes opérationnels de part et d'autres.
Seule critique: sa description des divisions et de leur dotation en équipement est souvent plus théorique qu'effective, comme j'ai pu m'en rendre par la suite.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby RoyalColor » Sun 26 Aug 2018 18:17

varis wrote:Watched a documentary last night and it was quite amazing, just how done Germany was at the point.


Yes and no at the same time.

The traditional narrative about Bagration on how the Germans were weak, changes with more and more sources both Russian and German being processed.

Contrary to Normandy most German Divisions of HG Mitte in June 1944, (with the exception of 18PzGrenDiv, 25PzGrenDiv and FHH) were actually full strength. Between Nov 1943 and April 1944 the Soviets launched exactly 11 limited offensive operations against HG Mitte all of them easily repulsed with high losses. These two factors combined with easy to defend terrain led OKW to believe that HG Mitte could easily deal even with large Russian offensive with relatively little forces used. That belief contributed to stripping HG Mitte not only with almost all their Armor Divisions but also Army and Corps level artillery, engineer and other support assets - all being transferred South where the main Soviet thrust was expected.

To conclude - Even though lacking support, Divisions themselves in HG Mitte were actually very strong and far from being "done". Stretched? - Yes, but Divisions of Army Group North were actually weaker and even more streatched.

HG Mitte collapsed not because of it's weakness, but because Russians were able to build up critical mass, plan, preapre and execute excellent operation against it. OKW did make some strategical and tactical errors after the operation started, but this doesn't make Soviet operational conduct any less significant.
Last edited by RoyalColor on Sun 26 Aug 2018 22:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby varis » Sun 26 Aug 2018 20:52

Well, I guess the next documentary would paint a different picture...

RoyalColor wrote:Contrary to Normandy most German Divisions of HG Mitte in June 1944, (with the exception of 18PzGrenDiv, 25PzGrenDiv and FHH) were actually full strength. Between Nov 1943 and April 1944 the Soviets launched exactly 11 limited offensive operations against HG Mitte all of them easily repulsed with high losses. These two factors combined with easy to defend terrain led OKW to believe that HG Mitte could easily deal even with large Russian offensive with relatively little forces used. That belief contributed to stripping HG Mitte not only with almost all their Armor Divisions but also Army and Corps level artillery, engineer and other support assets - all being transferred South where the main Soviet thrust was expected.


Yeah the very low number of tank and air assets could actually be partly because of that? The documentary mentioned that the main attack was expected to be in the South (Ukraine + oil fields in Romania) and not in the center, yes who in their right mind would think that the soviets would push a massive army through swamplands?
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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby RoyalColor » Sun 26 Aug 2018 22:34

varis wrote:Well, I guess the next documentary would paint a different picture...

RoyalColor wrote:Contrary to Normandy most German Divisions of HG Mitte in June 1944, (with the exception of 18PzGrenDiv, 25PzGrenDiv and FHH) were actually full strength. Between Nov 1943 and April 1944 the Soviets launched exactly 11 limited offensive operations against HG Mitte all of them easily repulsed with high losses. These two factors combined with easy to defend terrain led OKW to believe that HG Mitte could easily deal even with large Russian offensive with relatively little forces used. That belief contributed to stripping HG Mitte not only with almost all their Armor Divisions but also Army and Corps level artillery, engineer and other support assets - all being transferred South where the main Soviet thrust was expected.


Yeah the very low number of tank and air assets could actually be partly because of that? The documentary mentioned that the main attack was expected to be in the South (Ukraine + oil fields in Romania) and not in the center, yes who in their right mind would think that the soviets would push a massive army through swamplands?


Low German air presence was due to numerous squadrons relegated mainly to defence of the Reich.

The overall armor (StuGs, Panzerjagers) presence was actually quite high when you consider that OKW didn't think of HG Mitte to be in imminent danger. Again, in contrast to Normandy divisions, here almost all of them had their integral StuGIV supplements and most had also self-propelled tank hunters in one of their AT companies. There were literarily no divisions without an armored support of sorts. Even Anti-Partisan police units (Kamfgruppe von Gottberg), which happen to be in the area, had organic medley of second grade and captured armor.

OKW expected the the main Russian offensive to be actually larger than what it came up to be. They thought it would originate from the North Ukraine and head west-north towards Baltic coast, thus enveloping both HG Mitte and HG Nord.

Soviets put a great deal of effort into reinforcing Germans in this belief by using deception on a massive scale. The planning, preparations and drills for movement and combat in swamps and marshes were rehearsed for months.

This didn't go unnoticed and German Intelligence did a great job on painting the bigger picture - By the end of may, In front of HG Mitte, 124 of 169 large Russian units have been identified preparing for offensive. OKW reacted and sent out alarm dispatches to 20. Panzer Division on 15th of june and to 5. Panzer Division on 17th of June, for relocation to HG Mitte (a week before the offensive started). It was too late though

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Re: OPERATION BAGRATION ... Would you like to know more?

Postby Kagemusha » Mon 27 Aug 2018 15:37

Seule critique: sa description des divisions et de leur dotation en équipement est souvent plus théorique qu'effective, comme j'ai pu m'en rendre par la suite.


La difficulté sur cet enchainement opérationnel est d'avoir des sources dignes de confiance. Si du coté allemand les documents peuvent être donnés comme fiables, du coté russe, c'est beaucoup plus chaud.

Je suis assez impatient de voir le résultat car vous avez très bien rendu le coté tactique des engagements sur Steel Division Normandy 44. Comme pour SDN44, la question est comment rendre le jeu équilibré pour chaque camp ? La profondeur, le nombre d'unités engagées, la disproportion des moyens, comment allez vous gérer tout ça ???


En attendant, je bosse le sujet :D Bon courage à vos équipes ;)

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