Author Topic: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE  (Read 4764 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2020, 11:44:35 AM »
The Tape of the Twelfth
--------------------------

12th Army is typical for a standard invasion (strike, covering) army: one mechanized corps, two rifle corps, twelve divisions in all, including two reserve tank divisions and one reserve motorized infantry. It was formed at the time of the Ribbentrop Pact was signed, back in late August 1939, and had been deployed in the Ukraine -- filled, notably, with a strong majority of Ukrainian troops and commanders. Why? Partly because they were just nearby of course; and partly because at that time ethnic hostilities between Poles and Ukrainians were high, and Stalin and his high commanders were making handy use of that.

A few weeks later in mid-September, the 12st Army saw its first action, helping to invade (i.e. "liberate") Poland. Back then it featured one tank corps, two separate tank brigades, two cavalry corps, and three rifle divisions: very punchy by 1939 standards! It did not have (proportionately) much infantry or artillery, because with Poland distracted for a couple of weeks already by Hitler's invasion, it did not need to smash through powerful entrenched defenses. According to SME, Vol 8, p.181, "12th Army... was essentially a front-line mobile group." After the "liberation crusade" in Poland ended, 12th was not disbanded; its personnel drew down instead, with the organizational 'container' remaining on the new border, waiting and training.

But it didn't draw down much -- only enough to quietly start replacing its Ukrainian super-majority with a super-majority from Caucasus regions, up to and including Armenian Colonel Bagramayan, an old friend hand picked by Zhukov to be in charge of the operations division (i.e. training and planning on how best to use this Army), and Army Chief of Staff Bagrat Arushunyan (who by the way, later in a 1973 JMH article, #6, p.61, will acknowledge that the Soviet high command was well aware that there were too few troops ahead of this army in 1941 to invade the Soviet Union.) Dozens and even hundreds of other Caucasian officers were brought into the 12th Army. But why change over to a Caucasian super-majority? Why not stay with local Ukrainian troops and officers?

Colonel Bagramayan is later promoted, despite the disasters of Barbarossa (against his war-planning for this Army), all the way to Marshal of the Soviet Union! Later, for a 1967 article of the JMH, #1, p.54, he will explain Zhukov's (and thus also Stalin's) rationale, by reference to Zhukov's personal order: train constantly in the Carpathian mountain passes. "In the fall [of 1940, while Hitler is busy elsewhere invading western nations], and over all the more or less navigable routes, send across mountain passes specially outfitted task forces made up of a variety of combat craft and means of transport, to let all involved see for themselves the practical possibility of surmounting them with their tanks, motor vehicles, tractors, tracked transporters, and pack animals." Not much earlier, the Nazi generals had run very similar exercises to train and demonstrate to its troops that panzer formations could get through the Ardennes into France.

Stalin and Zhukov have thus been training the 12th Army, for more than a year, up to the day before Barbarossa, to be, in effect, a Mountain Panzer Group.

Could Zhukov be preparing this army for defending against invasion from the mountains?

The 12th Army is set up in typical Soviet strike-army configuration, for offense not defense; as will be proven tomorrow when the 12th Army is in no position at all to defend against invasion -- partly because there isn't much here to defend against (as Soviet High Command is well aware, per Lieutenant-General Arushunian's later article in JHM, 1973, #6, p.61); and partly because the position is flanked directly by enemies who would be attacking from plains (and so the 12th will be caught out of position and outflanked). It's also a typically tank-heavy strike army configuration, and tanks aren't usually intended to defend in mountainous terrain. On the other hand, most Soviet tanks are the fast, light variety, which might arguably fare better defending in mountains than other tanks; and the heavy KV-1 units might theoretically defend as mobile gun emplacements in the valleys. (The KV-2s in this army are mobile siege engine guns which cannot operate effectively on even a slight incline, so their presence in a defending mountain army makes less than no sense, aside from their invulnerable armor.)

But Zhukov is admittedly a military genius. Perhaps he has invented a new method for using tanks defensively in mountains, against invaders who would be hitting his flanks from plains in two directions? Fortunately, in his memoir article, then-Colonel Bagramayan, put in charge of operational planning for this army by his friend and mentor Zhukov, can decisively report, "While I was studying the operational plans, I was struck by the following fact: our frontier army had neither a deployment nor a border-protection plan." He means that there are no plans at all in the safe at 12th Army's operational HQ, for defending the border surrounding them in three directions! The operational maps provided in the safe reflect making war on Nazi territory, not defending against a Nazi invasion.

Moreover (as Bagramayan relates), Zhukov visits 12th Army regularly to inspect maneuvers -- which are only offensive missions, such as the first phase of a practice operation being to fight across the border river San. Wargames use up-to-date top-secret intelligence data about actual enemies to be expected -- on Nazi territory!

Bagramayan reports arguments between Zhukov and 12th Army Commander Parusinov, who insists: "We have to make every effort to inflict maximum damage on the enemy already with our very first strike." Zhukov agrees, these are good intentions; their dispute is that Zhukov insists on concentrating the attack in one narrow sector, while Parusinov wants to attack on a broad front. Why? Because the 12th has increasingly powerful Nazi armies gathering on its flanks, and Parusinov wants to surprise attack them before they can start hitting back. Too bad! -- Parusinov is soon removed and replaced by Zhukov's old friend General Ponedelin, who will train to attack across the river in a concentrated sector as Zhukov wants, ignoring 12th Army's exposed flanks. Zhukov knows he has covering armies behind him left and right of 12th Army's position: they will provide cover for 12th Army, in this plan, by attacking the enemy on the 12th's flanks.

Bagramayan in the middle of this, is given personal responsibility for ensuring that the attacking army can and will master maneuver and attack in the mountain passes. He also gets a good look, while at the border scouting for attack routes, at "an obvious display of defense-oriented work": reinforced-concrete fortifications being built on the very banks of the border river where the enemy can easily see and account for them. (Not back in the passes which must be protected against an invasion passing through, where the enemy will not be able to detect their construction.) These of course will support the initial planned river crossing -- unless Hitler attacks by surprise tomorrow from somewhere else and totally outflanks the now-useless fortifications.

Hitler has no need at all to attack across the mountains; this would be worse than useless for him. But across the mountains from the Soviet 12th Army is Hitler's main allied oil supply; very useful for Stalin and Zhukov!

Scientific experiments have been run for each combat and transport vehicle to meticulously understand their timing and operation in the conditions around and in the Carpathian mountains and passes. Drills have been run on these tests for every service branch in the 12th Army; standards have been established, tested, refined: stopwatch in hand, Bagramayan has been ensuring that the attack plans of Zhukov, Ponedelin, and the now-relieved Parusinov (for that matter), shall be grounded in absolute real-world experience. Planning proceeds as for the world's largest dashing bank heist -- all this hard, scientific excellence, totally a waste of time on defense, as will be demonstrated tomorrow morning.

If this is a Mountain Army (and one with the strength of a Nazi Panzer Group!), this raises the question: do the Soviets even have designated Mountain divisions? Yes they do! -- 192nd Mountain Ranger Division for example, has been secretly redeployed from its home base in Turkestan, where it has just been assembled, to join the 12th Army up on the line. Major-General Abramidze's 72nd Mountain Division, as another example, trains with the 12th Army, before being handed over to the command of the neighboring 26th Army. Colonel Novik's 28th Mountain Division joins other official mountain divisions as part of Lieutenant-General Konyev's 19th Army; having been secretly deployed now behind the 12th and 26th Armies.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2020, 01:12:59 PM »
On the other side of the 12th Army is the 9th Army, which is not a mountain army with mountain corps and mountain divisions; but more about the 9th soon. On June 13th, the 18th Army started deploying tucked between 12th and 9th. Documents (per Suvorov) indicate the 18th was intended to be a twin of the 12th in organization and material, suggesting it was also intended to be converted into a mountain army. But its deployment, refit, and any retraining, will be interrupted by Barbarossa tomorrow morning on June 22nd.

Last, but not least important: on April 26th, orders were sent out formally assigning four mountain divisions to the 12th Army; and on June 1st, those orders were fulfilled by formally designating four of 12th's divisions, who had been training in the area since 1940, as Mountain Ranger Divisions. The 12th Army's 44th, 58th, 60th, and 96th infantry divisions have earned the right to be properly designated as Mountain Divisions. (per "The Year 1941", Vol.2, pp.104-6). Officially, this is the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Council of People's Commissars Decree, "Regarding creation of new units of the Red Army #1112-459cc", of April 23, 1941, paragraph 2-b, "Convert 10 Rifle Divisions into Mountain Rifle Divisions."

12th Army, today on June 21st, 1941, thus has a corps of two mountain ranger divisions, and a corps with three of four of the divisions being formally designated as mountain rangers; but the corps have not yet been formally assigned as mountain corps, nor the army as a mountain army. On paper there stand only numbers.

Suvorov claims that each of the nearly-thirty Soviet armies being instituted and prepared by the summer of 1941, has a unique composition and purpose; the 12th is one sample.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2020, 01:19:50 PM »
We've been talking about the entire Armies parked next to the border; but there are also numbers of independent mechanized corps just to the rear of the sixteen invasion/strike/covering armies, on June 21st, 1941 (though some of those strike armies, like the 16th, are still arriving, and are strung out for hundreds or thousands of miles on the rail network.)

Just as, previously, any such corps could quickly transform a normal paper-thin Soviet army (essentially only a corps' worth of a few divisions) into a potent strike army; now any one of these corps stands ready to transform any of the current covering (strike/invasion) armies into a super-strike army -- without changing the army's name or number, as before.

But of course, there is nothing other than logistic and command difficulty preventing any of these reserve mechanized corps from joining one of the three armies already amped up to super-strike levels!

Each Soviet covering (i.e. strike) army soon will, or already does, equal a Panzer Group (at least in intention of force composition); and each of the three super-strike Armies already outnumbers half the Wehrmacht in tanks and related armor. But thanks to these independent mechanized corps, any super-strike army -- whether already extant or converted by one of these corps -- could quickly beef up again into a force comparable, by itself, to the entire Wehrmacht.  :o
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 01:21:40 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2020, 01:40:49 PM »
Nailing Together the 9th
---------------------------

To give a specific example of this up-conversion process, Suvorov provides a lot of information about the Soviet 9th Army.

The 9th Army had not been the lead strike (or covering) Army back during the Winter War invasion into Finland. It had been, in effect, a pompously named rifle corps, with no more than three rifle divisions. The 7th Army would strike and cover for its advance.

After the Winter War the 9th Army melted away from sight, but was not disbanded. On June 13, 1941, it had reappeared, like the skeleton of a skyscraper, not at full strength yet but already the most powerful single army in the world at six corps.

By June 21st, all by itself it accounts for seventeen divisions: two airmobile, four tank, two motorized, two cavalry (being converted to mechanized scout/strike), one mountain rifle, and six regular rifle. (Suvorov is unclear if this includes the 9th Special Rifle Corps being escorted to 9th Army by the Front Commander Cherevichenko, but probably not: he and they won't arrive in time for Hitler to invade tomorrow.)

9th Army already has two mechanized corps; and combined with the tanks of the various rifle, motorized and cavalry divisions, the 9th Army already has 1114 tanks (per Meltiukhov's "Stalin's Missed Opportunity", p.535). But Major-General Petrov's 27th Mechanized Corps, created in the Turkestan Military District, is secretly on the way to join it (despite not being fully assembled), bringing another 356 tanks to the 9th Army and raising the divisions to twenty (including six armored). At full strength the seven corps would have 3341 tanks: a little more than the entire Nazi force lined up to invade Russia tomorrow. Major-General (later Colonel-General) Byelov, Commander of 2nd Cav Corps, 9th Army, says in a JMH interview, 1959 (#11, p.66), that even the cav units were to get T-34 tanks. Independent mechanized corps nearby could be assigned to bring up the 9th Army even farther.

Against the 9th Army (not even counting any other nearby armies) stands exactly no armored divisions.

Nations (including the Soviet Union) correctly labeled German Panzer Groups "machinery of aggression" with a mere 600 to 100 tanks each (which seems like a typo for 1000). Stalin's Soviet Union, the day before Barbarossa, is gearing up multiple armies on the German border, with two to three thousand tanks each.

Back in March, Major-General Malinovsky had appeared at Odessa Military District HQ, giving orders to the corps of the former 9th Army. On June 13, 1941, he was promoted to Colonel-General. 9th is the only Soviet Army (out of 28) led by one of the 8 current Colonel-Generals, in charge of a force equivalent in armor to the entire German East Front. Three future Marshals of the Soviet Union (Malinovsky, Zakharov, and Krylov), plus a future Air Force Marshal (Pstygo), hold command ranks, as well as some famous future army generals under them (Petrov, Pavlovsky, Lashchenko). Odessa MD Commander Cherevichenko, secretly already regarded as the Southwestern Front Commander, is slated, however, to come take over 9th Army, while bringing with him the 9th Special Corps, trained in amphibious assault, which he has gone into the Crimea to take charge of. He and the Corps will be caught on the trains when Hitler invades tomorrow (per Zakharov later in "Historical Issues", 1970, #5, p.46.)

Stalin and his immediate subcommanders (e.g. Zhukov) have nailed together the 9th Army as the single most powerful armed force in the world; and Stalin has provided it with the single best set of commanders in the world -- men of proven talent and distinction who would go on to be even greater leaders in the grim and triumphant future.

But it must be recalled, that this unique ultra-force has not been deployed and is not filling out on the German border.

Instead, the 9th Army is deploying and preparing for action on the Romanian border (where of course 9th Special Rifle Corps would be of use in its training to assault-deploy from the Black Sea Fleet). Its forces have been here for more than a year already, acting as the invading/strike/covering army for the Bessarabia and Bukhovina invasion. In fact, although it had vanished from sight, the organizational structure had remained in place since June 1940! -- orders simply went from military district headquarters straight to the 9th Army's corps: HQ Odessa Military District (created in October 1939), and 9th Army HQ, had merged for a while. On June 13th, 1941, the HQs partitioned out again, Malinovsky was promoted to become the 8th Soviet Colonel-General, and suddenly 9th Army existed again! But it hadn't really gone anywhere.

Throughout Soviet history so far, whenever an invasion army (later "strike", later "covering") appears on a country's border, that country gets to enjoy the honor of a glorious military "liberation crusade" no more than one month later.  <:-) :hide:

Now the 9th Army, re-emerging as a constituent organization on the Romanian border in mid-June 1941, is no longer a strike army; it is the largest of the three super-strike armies, and plans are in motion to hulk it out beyond even that level.

It is not gearing up for defense; that is not what invasion (i.e. strike, i.e. covering) armies are for, and in Soviet military doctrine Military District Commanders do not move their flag HQs to armies positioned on a border unless they're planning to invade. Eventual Marshal of the Soviet Union Konyev (in JMH, 1968, #7, p.42), will eventually say that the day before today, on June 20th, the 9th Army HQ was given combat alert readiness, while the Odessa MD HQ staff slipped out of the city to go join it (not counting Cherevichenko, secretly on the way back from the Crimea with 9th Special Corps to take command of Southern Front from within 9th Army).

Zhukov has even assigned it the most decorated mountain infantry division in the Red Army, the 30th "Irkutsk" Mountain Rangers, commanded by Major-General Galaktionov, part of General Malinovsky's 48th Rifle Corps. 9th Army has no mountains nearby, and none ahead -- except in Romania. If 9th Army invades westward, it will find mountains on its rightward flank, where the 48th Rifle Corps is deployed, with the 30th MD on its own right flank.

Its opponents in this area are a thin set of Romanian forces.

But striking at Romania means striking at Germany's heart of fuel. The Soviets would not even need to seize the oilfields intact -- they have plenty already (enough to sell to Germany during World War 2 so far!) Punch out the fuel, and Nazi Germany dies, the end, period. 9th Army would only have to cross 112 miles, across plains and on good roads -- 9th Army would only have to throw its strike aircraft 112 miles downrange and drop rockets and bombs on the airfields (having achieved blue-sky air supremacy)! -- and that would be the end.

The Danube Flotilla nearby, which in itself served as the signal trigger for Hitler and his generals to start planning Barbarossa, would not even need to motor upriver and shell the fields and pipelines. But it's still there, too, training intensively for river-crossing operations with rifle-divisions acting as marines.

After Germany invades by surprise tomorrow (citing Soviet buildup of massive troops on the Romanian border, aimed at the oilfields), the 9th Army will still tend "to see every defensive assignment as temporary", as reported by Byelov in his JMH 1959 article.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 01:44:48 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2020, 01:44:05 PM »
First Lieutenant Pokryshkin, currently a deputy to the commander of a 9th Army fighter squadron, eventually three-time Hero of the Soviet Union and Air Force Marshal, had been hanging around the store of a "half-butchered bourgeois" back in the spring of 1941 -- a store "liberated" by the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of course -- trying to have something like a friendly conversation with him.

Marshal Pokryshkin, in his memoir "War in the Skies", p.10, remembers the store owner sighing, "O Bucharest! If only you could see what a city it is!"

"Someday, I will!" -- but the Lieutenant realizes he has said too much; it was time to change the subject.

Why? Suvorov implies that the Marshal doesn't explain the problem with this apparently innocent lapse. But Soviet Lieutenants are not allowed to go on vacation into other nations not already part of the Soviet Republics. Yet Pokryshkin already feels confident that he will see Bucharest -- where many of those oil-fields are -- and so he mustn't talk about it, and give away any particular plan for the Soviet takeover of Romania at large.

After WW2 is done, Comrade Pokryshkin shall indeed spend some time in "liberated" Bucharest. He will just need a few more years to get there.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2020, 02:14:07 PM »
The Longest Day
------------------

Hitler has moved his offensive forces directly up to his side of the border, preparing to strike. No Nazi security corridor remains; all defensive mines have been removed, all defensive obstructions leveled which would hinder any travel to and from the border. All barbed wire has been taken down on the Nazi side.

From "History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union 1941-45", Vol 2, p 49: "[Soviet]armies... had to deploy right along the international borders, never mind how hard the configuration of that frontier made it to defend. Our prewar regulations notwithstanding, not even a security corridor was set up."
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2020, 02:18:44 PM »
Divisions and corps in the Siberian Military District have been secretly transformed into the 24th Army, and are preparing for deployment across all Russia to the Nazi border -- the last of the Second Strategic Echelon to embark. Before boarding the trains, 24th Army runs the troops through one last maneuver on June 21st, 1941: the airborne landing of one of their rifle divisions in the rear of a hypothetical enemy.

Back at some time before the Siberian MD had become the 24th Army (i.e. before June 13), during a similar training maneuver, General Kalinin had listened to a junior officer discussing things with other officers: "Fortifications, now, we probably also won't need. We're not getting ready to defend, after all, but to attack -- and we'll hit the enemy on his own turf!"

Kalinin remembers this in his memoir, "Past Battles Remembered", p.124, with a wry irony; because the 24th Army will be thrown piecemeal off its trains into the defense against the Nazi blitzkrieg (helping to fatally stall the central front blitz, near Smolensk).

But Kalinin does not report correcting the young man on what he overheard; nor report going to his subordinate commanders and warning them that the junior officers imagine wrongly that they shall only be attacking; and he does not change the drill schedule. On the day before Barbarossa, their final drill before loading onto the train wagons, remains an airborne assault to hit the enemy on his own turf -- which, as his junior officer observed a few weeks ago, they certainly don't need fortifications for.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2020, 02:30:53 PM »
Starinov, once again from "Mines Awaiting Their Moment", p.190, recalls seeing a border station on the morning of June 21, 1941, while serving as the head of the Red Army Engineering Command division, responsible for barriers and mining: "The sun lit up mountains of coal along the railways, piles of brand-new track. The tracks [in the piles] were glistening. All was oozing tranquility."

These tracks are glistening because they had not yet started rusting, although this quickly happens. He is recalling piles of absolutely brand-new track waiting at the end of the Soviet railway lines, at the border, where they would be absolutely the most useless for repairing Soviet railways, and where there is nowhere for the tracks to extend except into Nazi territory. "Mountains of coal" are also waiting, a little less useless here since trains are of course returning back into the homeland after dropping off troops and their equipment.

Within a few hours, all these resources will be captured by the Nazis.

Keeping the coal at the border is practically suicidal on defense: it would fuel any attacking enemy's rail transport! The railway battalions are not taking it away on June 21; and naturally will fail to do much of that starting tomorrow, since they won't have time, and preparations have not been made to take the materials to safety -- from an area they absolutely should not have been, if the Red Army is preparing for defense against an historically aggressive foe.

Portable bridges have also been stocked at the ends of the logistic lines: almost pointless in defense, and in totally the wrong place to be used in defense.

Meretskov, Zhukov, and Beria (master of the NKVD and their work groups on the border), have made it possible for the German Army to pick up ludicrous supplies on a logistic grid leading straight into Russian backfields, even to the gates of Moscow. True, those paths are along relatively narrow corridors for travel, but those corridors are capable of ferrying armies toward and from the border -- vastly much larger forces than the Nazis will be bringing.

Meretskov, Zhukov, and Beria have done this while not preparing all roads and tracks and bridges to be destroyed, mined, and/or swamped; instead, they have removed all such possible risks previously installed by Soviet defense experts!

As their reward, they will not be shot, but will be given even more authority: they were acting according to Stalin's plan, and he will not punish them even as scapegoats.

According to the old-guard Soviet butcher of blood, Marshal Tukhachevsky, long ago before execution, as reported in his Selected Works, Vol 1, pp 62-63, "In preparing for [invasion] operations, steps absolutely must be taken to ready wood bridges and concentrate railway patch-up crews along indispensable lines. [...] While converting narrow-gauge [Soviet] track to [Central and Western European] wide..." The logistic preparations at the end of the line match the standard Soviet invasion doctrines set up by Tukhachevsky in the early years of the Leninist regime, and polished by Triandafillov, successfully used in prior invasions by the Soviet Union under Stalin. All the railway troops have been collected nearby; along with virtually all Soviet engineering forces.

Not only are the sapper units of local divisions, corps, and armies collected together and pressed up at the border, but also the units of such groups which have not yet arrived at the border but which have just started moving toward the border to join their sapper units who are already there!

These sapper units have been trained at "Preparing launch positions for offense, trail-blazing, putting up and overcoming barriers, operational and tactical camouflaging, organizing how to work in concert with assault-force infantry and tanks, [and] supporting forces fighting their way across rivers." ("Soviet Armed Forces", p. 255.) The quote mostly references offensive preparations and activities during an offensive. The "putting up barriers" could be defensive, but the context with "overcoming" means they're putting up test barriers for helping others train to overcome defensive barriers. Such training belts had also been constructed almost two years ago before invading Finland.

Military Intelligence Colonel Starinov, remember, is no mere apparatchik, nor even only a military engineer! He will soon afterward be promoted to the deputy in charge of all Soviet commandos, and will successfully plan and lead no less than two army-sized partisan operations behind enemy lines, each requiring the simultaneous action of more than one hundred thousand special operations soldiers. He has come to Brest the night before the Germans invade, with special orders in his pocket written by his sole commander, People's Commissar for Defense Marshal Timoshenko. Starinov has been in charge of preparing numerous bridges for destruction in his assigned Fortified Sector in recent years; and then in charge of removing those demolition charges. All he needs is a few hours and the key strategic bridges at Brest, previously stripped of their defensive explosives, can once again be rigged to blow sky high at the push of a single button! -- but that is not why he is at Brest on June 22nd, the very morning of the German invasion, before dawn.

Officially he has been sent here on maneuver, but now (presumably Suvorov finds this in Starinov's memoirs but doesn't cite sources) he finds the maneuver has been canceled -- or was only a pretext to begin with. He never finds out what his written orders are: the Germans invade at or before dawn.

As has become fashionable for Soviet officers since February 1941, Starinov's aide, remaining throughout the war, is a faithful, reliable, adroit, ethnic German driver, named Schläger ('dueling sabre').
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2020, 02:38:45 PM »
Lieutenant-General Professor Karbyshev of the Corps of Engineers has been attending offensive combat exercises at the western border for about a month, teaching infantry and tanks how to beat various enemy defenses, after telling his friends back in Moscow that the war has already started in early June and promising to arrange their transportation up to where he will be, so that they can celebrate a victory party together.

On the morning of the 21st, he departs for 10th Army HQ; but before he leaves (according to Peshin's biography "General Karbyshev", p. 204), he visits a border post by the Augustovo-Seino highway, accompanied by 3rd Army Commander Kuznyetsov and the Grodno Fortified Sector Commandant Ivanov. "That morning," Karbyshev tells his biographer, meaning the 21st, "our barbed-wire barriers were still up, but by the time [the group] drove by there once more [later on the 21st], those barriers had already been taken down."

The border belt is still swarming with gulag inmates doing infrastructure work under NKVD command, as well as any number of soldiers and officers who would love to make a run for anywhere but Soviet Russia. The secret police put barbed wire around the border partly to discourage spies, but also partly to discourage escapes and defections: they've been doing this since at least 1919!

Yet the 3rd Army Commander and the Commandant of Fortified Sector activities, are not freaking out about barbed wire being removed from between them and the Nazi hordes they know are on the other side, much less about the possibility of gulag prisoners making a run for the border.

Remember, Karbyshev thinks that to some real degree the war against Germany has been underway since early June, yet today he has no complaints about the final meager defensive protection being removed.

The only way the NKVD would have done this without a lieutenant being shot for treason (perhaps even by his own subordinates), would be by orders from NKVD Byelorussia Border Troops Chief Lieutenant General Bogdanov -- who evacuated servicemen's families from the area back three days earlier on the 18th. So one way or another Bogdanov thinks there's about to be serious fighting. The kind of serious fighting that requires taking down the last barbed wire border between him and Germany; the kind of serious fighting where he is surprised by the Nazis blitzkrieging across his border.

Germany started removing the barbed wire on their side of the border three weeks earlier, preparing to invade. The Soviet Union took down the barbed wire immediately preceding their invasions of Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Bessarabia, and Bulkovina, since September 1939. Now on June 21st, 1941, the Soviets are taking down their final barbed wire on their own side of the border.

There on tour before dawn on the 21st, seeing with evident approval that the barbed wire has been taken down, is Grodno Fortified Sector Commandant Ivanov. Remember the purpose of such Fortified Sectors according to Soviet military doctrine, as described in the memoirs of Soviet Major-General Grigoryenko (at that time a Colonel): "Only the naive see defense as the prime mission for Fortified Sectors. No, we build Fortified Sectors the better to prepare for offense!"

Ivanov's Fortified Sector at Grodno does have some defensive value, of course, but that isn't its prime purpose: only the naive would think so. If the Soviets can fool their targets into thinking the Fortified Sectors are primarily for defense, then great! On the morning of June 21st, the final meager physical defenses of Grodno's Fortified Sector are being removed, even down to the barbed wire on the border. Only the primary function of the Fortified Sector, according to Soviet military doctrine of the time, remains.

As Grigoryenko will later write about this day before Barbarossa (quoted but unsourced by Suvorov, perhaps from his memoir "Nothing but Rats Underground"), "We were perfectly primed for a war based on offense. Surely we are not to blame the side to launch it was not ours."
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2020, 02:42:18 PM »
Back at Moscow, General Tulenyev, commander of the now-depleted and reassigned Moscow Military District, stands in front of the Politburo.

His troops were ordered back a month ago, to either join First Strategic Echelon armies, at or near the border, or else to join Second Strategic Echelon's 20th Army, on the way to the border. Unlike other Military District Commanders, he and his staff weren't ordered to form and take command of a new Army; they have been left behind.

Now on June 21st, the day before Barbarossa, the Politburo promotes him to Commander of the Southern Front. He brings along all his officers from general rank downward, keeping their ranks and duties but now in charge of multiple Armies in multiple Fortified Sectors. Zhukov insisted back in February that he be given this command; and now that Cherevichenko has moved his MD headquarters to the 9th Army (with his Chief of Staff Zakharov currently in command of the converted Southern Front HQ while Cherevichenko is busy escorting the 9th Special Rifle Corps forward to the 9th Army), Tulenyev can go take command.

Why so many chefs stirring this particular pot?? Because under Tulenyev's new command will be, for example, the super-strike 9th Army; the mountain-warfare 18th Army; the amphibious invasion 9th Special Rifle Corps; the 3rd Air Assault Corps; plus all their surrounding Armies (and the Danube riverine assault Flotilla), plus of course all their land-based air power.

Fortunately, this is a formality: many of his HQ sections have already arrived at the frontier.

Unfortunately, no replacement officers have been planned, yet, for the Moscow MD.

Fortunately, fronts of course, in Soviet military doctrine, are activated and assigned once combat operations begin, particularly offensive operations, and the Moscow MD won't need a commander for that.

Unfortunately, when offensive combat operations start shooting tomorrow, it won't be the Soviets invading Nazi territories, and the Soviets won't be prepared to defend against them at all.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2020, 02:44:35 PM »
Major-General Zhadov, having commanded a mountain cavalry division in Central Asia, is on his way west "on the very eve of war... [having been] named commander of 4th Airborne Assault Corps..." [JMH, 1971, #3, p.124) He will arrive "at the front with the battle already raging".

Is he on the way to the front the day before Barbarossa to defend against Nazi invasion? -- no, they don't expect Nazi invasion yet.

Do you create an Airborne Assault Corps to protect against invasion? No, and this one will be disbanded and reconfigured for defense (what survives of it).

Perhaps he is on the way to counterattack? Not on June 21st, there is nothing to counterattack!

Do you counterattack with an Airborne Assault Corps anyone? No, unless you somehow have air supremacy perhaps. The Soviets will definitely not have air supremacy starting tomorrow after the Nazis invade, and not for a long, long while afterward either. Which is another reason why Zhadov's Corps will be disbanded.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #41 on: June 20, 2020, 02:49:14 PM »
According to the Brest Fortress Defense Museum, as well as the "Great Patriotic War Encyclopedia", 1985, p.138), NKVD 132nd Security Escort Battalion, in Poland, occupies the Tiraspol stronghold in the Brest Fortress, with 17th Border Detachment in the same barracks, making no preparations to defend in the event of war.

Their job, as with all "security escorts", is to bring captured enemies (military and otherwise) out of the area into Soviet territory.

The Escort Battalion is parked on the western bank of the western arm of the Bug river, in a border fortress island accessible from the east only by ferry. It would be very difficult in peacetime to get back to Soviet territory; but to get to German held territory, where the battalion must go to capture enemy targets to escort into captivity, requires only crossing a bit of a bridge.

(Starinov, remember, is in Brest tonight with secret orders in his pocket which will never be done.)

NKVD 4th Division, equivalent in training and equipment quality (by Soviet standards) to an SS Division, is pulling guard duty on Prut River border bridges according to some sources. The JMH, 1973, #10, p. 46 (and according to Suvorov "many other" sources), relate that NKVD 4th Div is straddling both ends of the bridge, not to defend it and blow it up in case of war -- which couldn't be done because the Soviets had de-mined the bridge -- but to act as a Security Escort formation, to bring Division-sized groups of captives back into Soviet rear areas under guard, where they will be used as slave labor and interrogated (or liquidated as necessary). Leading the NKVD 4th is Division Commander Colonel Mazhirin, who has served in convoys for gulags his entire career.

Being on both sides of the bridge won't be altogether fun by early tomorrow morning; but at least they aren’t on that narrow strip of land vacated by the border guards to make room for the 96th Mountain Rifle Division and the 164th Rifle!
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #42 on: June 20, 2020, 02:51:15 PM »
At the airbases tonight, tens of thousands of parachutes have been folded for action in the loading areas (starting back on that busy day of June 13th, when the largest logistic transfer in human history started).

Philip and St. Croix, writing their "Airborne Operations" later in 1978, p.30, will note, "In June 1941, when Germany invaded Russia, the latter had more than one million trained parachutists. It seems extraordinary that the investment this represented was not used constructively during the war."

Stalin will constructively use that investment indeed! -- just not for air assault. More on this later, after the shooting starts tomorrow...
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2020, 02:53:49 PM »
As midnight rolls over to June 22nd, where is NKVD (later KGB Colonel) officer Vauphsassov, veteran of forest murder squads in Poland during the original 1920 invasion and its 1939 sequel, leader of political terrorism in the Spanish Politburo, trainer of Soviet partisan defenders, who explains their dissolution and reassignment after the (second) invasion of Poland as being due to offensive doctrine? Where is this commander of pacification teams to kill political undesirables in nations invaded by the Soviets since Poland 1939?

He is not at the western border, in case you are wondering.

He is over the border, in Nazi territory, with a diplomatic passport!

Is he there to organize a possible defense (somehow) in case of Nazi invasion?

Not even slightly: when the Nazis invade at dawn, he is summoned (with difficulty) back to Byelorussia to help recreate the disbanded defensive partisan brigades, as he had helped create them before (this time under vastly more difficult circumstances).

So why is a gulag commander and long-term political terrorist across the border in enemy territory? -- a terrorist operative who thinks Soviet defensive partisans aren't needed thanks to a "prevalent doctrine to fight a war on enemy territory"?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 02:58:35 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 19099
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: IceBreakChron IX: THE DAY BEFORE
« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2020, 02:57:43 PM »
Also that night, Panzer General Guderian, flanked by officers from his headquarters, is reconnoitering near Brest one last time (not far from where Starinov is secretly moving.)

He used to come here in disguise, even up to the water's edge.

Now he and his crew don't even bother: they are decked out in full proud regalia! -- for he knows how much epic butt-kicking he is about to inflict upon all Soviet Russia!

All the generals of the Nazi government on the border are peering through their binoculars one last time. As Barbarossa approaches, the scouts have been higher and higher ranked, as Soviet generals and marshals register more and more recon teams (such as per Chief Air Force Marshal Novikov, "In the Skies of Leningrad", p.41). True, the Nazi scouts were using camouflage, including the Nazi generals using border guard or rank-and-file uniforms (up until tonight); but the experienced eye can usually tell the difference, and Soviet border guards are very experienced by now at reporting who is over there intently studying the Soviet side. They have known this, and marked the increase, since April.

Behold, however, the field in which Guderian grows the damns that he might give! -- now it lies barren and empty!  \m/

Let the Soviet border guards tonight see, and be assured, exactly who is coming for them now, to claim their lives.

Mua ha ha ha haaaaaa.  >:D
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.