Author Topic: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS  (Read 4196 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« on: April 21, 2020, 11:46:28 AM »
For the prior thread of my Icebreaker Thesis Chronology project, click here.

For the Table of Contents and Introduction thread, click here.


The Plot {cue M:I secondary theme}
---------

December 23, 1940, from Halder’s diary again, “The situation with rubber is difficult.” And about to be much moreso! -- since you won’t be able to rely on Soviet rubber anymore.  ^-^ Still, that’s why you want to make sure to hit while Stalin has all his own supplies up front to hit you with!


December 23, 1940: 274 Red Army marshals, generals, and admirals, gather with Stalin and Politburo members until the evening of December 31st, to discuss 1940 and plans for 1941.

The commanders are brought to remote places outside Moscow in closed rail cars or in airplanes, and then delivered in equally blacked-out cars to the inner courtyard of "Hotel Moscow". Any commanders not already starting in Moscow are forbidden to go into the city (where they might be spotted and recognized); their military districts continue to publish newspapers with previously-taken photographs and articles giving the impression that they are still present on duty. From the hotel all commanders are loaded onto closed buses in the inner courtyard each day and driven to the General Staff building, returning at the end of the day in the same fashion. Naturally the hotel itself is "cleared of outside elements" and placed under special security and surveillance.

Winter is here again! -- how are troops on the new border doing? Are they ready to spend another winter there? Lieutenant-General Kurdyumov, at this time Chief of the Red Army's Combat Training Directorate, reports at this meeting (per “On the Eve of the War: Documents of the Conference of the Supreme Command of the Red Army, December 23-31, 1940”, in “The Russian Archive: the Great Patriotic War”, 1993, 12:1:34) that troops on the border are frequently forced to do housekeeping rather than engage in combat training. Wow, they've had more than a year to do 'housekeeping'! In their defense, the troops have been very busy, just not in preparing for winter quarters. Nor in preparing for their defense.

Even their training has been disrupted by movements at the border, though. At the same staff meeting (ibid., 12:1:40-41), Lieutenant-General Fyodorenko, currently Chief of Armored Forces Command, comments that from 1939 until now, virtually all tank formations on the borders found themselves transferred around three or four times; and some were shuffled on the border so often that "over half the redeployed units [i.e. the tank units redeployed to the border so far] had no practice areas." What he's saying is that they were being given fast maneuver training so often, that they weren't in one place long enough to settle down and start building practice areas for even other arriving tank crews to use!


None of that is the main point of this super-secret conference, however, even though it's related. The texts of the conference will be eventually published after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as "On the Eve of the War: Documents of the Red Army High Command Officers' Conference, December 23-31, 1940" (publisher uncited by Suvorov). Zhukov delivers the first and most important lecture, introducing the new tactics of sudden attack. This theme continues throughout the conference, including on December 26, 1940 (at either another lecture or else the first lecture was given three days later; Suvorov is unclear here): "The use of new means of struggle and new attack tactics has great value for our success. Before the enemy finds a means of countering the advance, the attacker can make use of all the advantages given by the element of surprise." Obviously, he isn't talking about new Nazi surprise blitzkrieg tactics being of great value for Soviet success!

Air Force Lieutenant-General P.V. Rychagov, Chief of the Air Force Main Directorate of the Red Army, delivers the second (and also very important) lecture, titled "The Air Force in an Offensive Operation and the Struggle for Air Superiority." Zhukov in his "Memoirs and Reflections" (p.191) will regard this lecture as "very informative". Rychagov summarizes his argument thus (from p.177 of the Conference documents), "The best means of defeating the air force on the ground is a simultaneous strike at a large number of air bases where the enemy's aviation is possibly located", thus to "catch all enemy aircraft at their bases." Consequently, he also stresses that such preparations must absolutely be veiled. Of course, it is practically impossible to do this in wartime. It can only feasibly done in peacetime, with an unsuspecting enemy, ideally one who hasn't arranged himself on the defensive. You cannot start a war and then suddenly strike most airfields hoping to catch all aircraft while parked! Rychagov's "special operations" are Soviet-speak for starting a war with a crippling surprise air strike against enemy air bases, quickly to be followed by thousands of commando para-jumpers seizing the airfield (under established air supremacy cover), and hundreds of thousands of light airmobile troops quickly landing in gliders, to be followed by even larger numbers of heavier airmobile troops in normal transports.

One of the more amusing incidents at this meeting involves eventual Baltic Military District (and then Northwestern Front) Chief of Staff Lieuteant-General Klyonov (also spelled in English letters Klenov), protogé of Politburo member Zhdanov, demonstrating his ideological commitment to waging only offensive invasion wars, by lecturing Zhukov (of all people! -- in front of Stalin!!) about how best to deliver such surprise attacks. From pp.153-154 of the conference docs, "These will be operations of the starting phase, when the enemy's armies have not yet completed their concentration and are not prepared for deployment. These are operations of invasion, for carrying out a whole chain of special tasks... This is the use of large air and, perhaps, mechanized forces, while the enemy has not yet prepared for decisive action... The mechanized forces will have to be used independently, and they will solve the tasks of invasion into enemy territory."

Colonel-General of Tank Troops D.G. Pavolv, commander of the Western Special Military District, delivers the lecture titled "The use of mechanized units in contemporary offensive operations and breakthrough by mechanized corps." From the conference docs p.255, "Poland has ceased to exist after seventeen days. The operation in Belgium and Holland ended after fifteen days. The operation in France, before France's capitulation, lasted seventeen days. These are three very characteristic numbers, which cannot but force me to accept them as a possible number for our calculations of our offensive operation."
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 02:53:18 PM »
Was the Soviet defense of Russia even talked about?! Yes -- after a fashion. The lecturers at the conference, for example, unanimously agreed that the current Soviet Field Statute for the spread of a division on a defensive line was too small, at eight to twelve kilometers. The width of the line must be widened -- by putting more troops into the defending division so that the density will remain equal or perhaps greater across the line? No, that would pose too much administrative strain. Besides, they aren't talking at all about adding more troops onto defensive duty in any way. In fact, the point everyone agrees on is that one division could do the work of two or three in defending their width of a line, freeing up those other divisions to help with the offense! (Sources uncited by Suvorov.)

Another possibility for adjusting defensive theory, is advocated by the Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Military District, Major-General P.G. Ponedelin: don't bother with primary defensive lines at all! Concentrate all the forces in those locations where the Soviet Union would carry out sudden strikes against its enemy, leaving secondary locations defenseless with a completely bare border in those places! Ponedelin isn't immediately taken out and shot as an obvious traitor to the Motherland; on the contrary a month from now, when Zhukov becomes the Chief of General Staff of the Red Army, he will offer Ponedelin command of the 12th Army, to be parked in the Lvov-Chernovitsi bulge. He'll be tried and shot as a traitor later after that command -- not because he will concentrate all force into a hitting fist and leave his border flanks bare to be crushed by the Germany blitzkrieg (many other generals will share the same fate and be reassigned by Stalin or even promoted), but because he'll be captured by the Nazis: standard Soviet procedure on recovering captured officers is to court-martial and shoot them.

Anything else about Red Army defensive preparations? Yes, Army General I.V. Tulenev, commander of the Moscow Military District, delivers a lecture on "The Character of Contemporary Defensive Operations". So questions dealing with defense are examined after all!

After consideration of the topic, Tulenev declares, "We have no established contemporary defensive theory." (pp.209-210)  #:-) #:-) #:-)

Until December 1940, Soviet military theory did not work on questions of defense, or not in any primary way. With Hitler on the doorstep now, perhaps they should get started with that?! Tulenev summarizes what everyone agrees upon about that: "Defense will be a part of a general offensive. Defense is an indispensable form of military operations in separate secondary locations, which allows us to save forces for offensive operations and to prepare attacks." (p.210)

That might sound at first like it could be sufficient defensive planning, but notice that those locations are not only regarded as "secondary" but as "separate". They aren't mutually reinforcing, and aren't even contiguous with one another. At most Tulenev is talking about gappy defensive spots, not about lines at all.

Moreover, the goal is to conduct grandiose sudden offensive operations on enemy territory, and therefore to amass huge forces in narrow areas. For this purpose, the Soviet commanders are planning to take almost all forces out of those "secondary" locations -- the only (separate) areas where any defense at all is being planned.
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 03:01:04 PM »
December 31, 1940, People's Commissar of Defense Marshal of the Soviet Union S. K. Timoshenko, on the final day of the conference: "In the theater of operations you must aim at being able simultaneously to pursue two, if not three offensive operations on several fronts, to overwhelm enemy defense capabilities over the widest possible area." (p.350) Defense at any primary location is not even theoretically being considered. The most important thing is to advance with entire armies, fronts, and groups of fronts. Regiments, denuded divisions, perhaps even a corps of thinned divisions, would sometimes be left for defense in separate locations. Some did agree that if needed an entire field army could remain in a local defense according to immediate circumstances -- but especially to serve as a fast strategic reserve for deploying regiments and divisions for the offensive!

We shall be seeing examples of these ideas later in 1941; but the point is that no plans at all are being laid for systematic defense. All defense is meant to be the minimal expected for dealing with temporary local situations. Systematic defense preparations are not examined even theoretically -- about six months before Germany will hit the Soviet Union with exactly the same kind of surprise blitzkrieg these commanders are super-secretly planning to hit some "enemy" with.

The concept of Germany preparing a similar surprise blitzkrieg, by the way, is vocally, even adamantly, dismissed as impossible at the conference. This is partly because, as eventual Marshal of the Soviet Union Grechko will later reveal in JMH, 1966, #6, p.8, "...[W]ithin 11 days after Hitler had finalized the plan for war against the Soviet Union (December 18, 1940), our intelligence people were in possession of that fact and the basics of the German Command decision."

There can be no surprise Nazi attack, because Soviet High Command knows the attack is coming this year and knows to watch for it!

A group under the code name "Viking" works in the staff of the Nazi Oberkommand Wehrmacht, the Over- or High-Command of the Armed Forces or warmakers, abbreviated OKW. Seven high-ranking German officers and generals are supplying information straight from Hitler's cabinet to Stalin's pre-GRU military intelligence agents! (as per the official Soviet military newspaper "Red Star" issue December 23, 1989, page uncited.) Another group under the code name "Alta" works in the German embassy in Moscow; but the entire embassy is wrapped up in the web of Stalin's espionage (his military intelligence; his pre-KGB party intelligence; and his own personal intelligence group concealed under the name "Special Section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party".) The embassy agents are "supplemented by a man who had, in essence, unrestricted access to all state secrets of Germany," (per "Red Star", October 1, 1987). JMH #4, 1992, p.30, adds that the German embassy in Moscow has ties at this time to Goering's staff (the second-in-command of the Nazi Party under Hitler); to the science and technology organs of the Third Reich; and of course to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Among these agents," notes the JMH article, "there was even one of the closest associates of the foreign affairs minister, Ribbentrop. He was recruited in Poland to work for the British and in his convictions he was an adamant enemy of the Soviet Union." Like many other agents, he thought he was working against Stalin, when in reality he was working for him. (Suvorov in "Chief Culprit" Chapter 40, adds an impressive set of examples of Stalinist agents to this list. For example, Stalin will know the plan for the Nazi Kursk offensive in 1943, six days before the operation's own generals!)

Stalin and his generals know Hitler is coming this year; they know he likes to hit with blitzkriegs; they know how armies perform blitzrkiegs; they have the opportunity right now in the final week of December 1940 to start preparing thoroughly to receive Hitler's attack.

But they are not planning to defend against Hitler's expected attack. They are planning to hit some "enemy" with a surprise blitzkrieg first -- in fact, to hit some enemy before this enemy finishes preparations for his own blitzkrieg, catching this enemy off guard and wrecking practically all his forces on the Continent who will be caught out of position to defend against the Soviet thunderbolts.

They will still be expecting for Hitler to attack after winning or at least settling his war against Britain, however; and they are still expecting Hitler to attack for the purpose of conquering and collecting Russia into his economic control, therefore needing a long-term war and occupation.

Stalin orders new pre-GRU chief Golikov (succeeding all his liquidated predecessors), whose agents provided this information about Barbarossa, to find some way to be sure about Nazi timing on this basis. Golikov, who has all of the GRU's history at liquidating his predecessors for motivation, gets right on that project!  :bd: He'll report back in early January.

And it will be freaking genius...  :D :notworthy:
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 06:36:17 PM »
December 31, 1940: after 6pm the conference ends and most of the participants are rapidly and secretly transported back to where they have been pretending to still be; but one group remains.

49 of the highest ranking commanders have been playing a strategic staff wargame on maps since 11am today: "Easterners", led by Pavlov the commander of the Western Special Military District; and "Westerners", led by Zhukov the commander of the Kiev Special Military District. According to the Soviet Journal of Military History, #12, 1986, p.41, this is the largest and most important wargame of all the prewar years.

The Easterners have 24 generals, 1 rear admiral, 1 first rank navy captain, 1 second-rank navy captain, and 1 colonel. The Westerners (whoever they are supposed to be, cough cough  ^-^ ) have 21 generals, admirals, and officers. The game's supervisor is People's Commissar of Defense Timoshenko. The referees are twelve of the top commanders of the Red Army, including four Marshals of the Soviet Union. Stalin and the entire Politburo observe the scenario of the future war playing out. Zhukov himself says (uncited by Suvorov) that the two games planned for this exercise do not have an academic character, but are directly tied to the imminent war.

Suvorov (in "Chief Culprit") says the two staffs evaluate situations, make decisions, and give orders and directions "for several days and nights, without rest or sleep". In other words, they're playing out the games in real-time.

The Easterners are not playing out any defense plans against Westerner aggression: they're going for the breakthrough invasion against the Westerners before the Western group has completed its own preparations for blitzing. Thus the title of the game: "Offensive Operation of the Front with Breaks through the  Fortified Regions." Suvorov doesn't specifically state what maps they are using, but says they are thinking of ways to take Koenigsberg, Warsaw, Prague, Bucharest, Krakow, and Budapest, and strongly implies that they are gaming the conquest of Eastern Prussia with Zhukov defending it.

He also seems to cite the conference docs ("On the Eve of War...", pp.388-89) about the tasks for the game being designed according to the principle that on July 15, 1941, Germany attacks the Soviet Union (as of course the intercepted plans 11 days after Hitler's finalization had told the Soviets): German troops force their way 70 to 120km into Soviet territory; but by August 1, they are thrown back to their original positions.

But none of that is gamed! -- the game just starts with the mention that the Germans have attacked and the Soviets have already driven them back precisely where they happened to start from!

In other words, the successful defense is a political sham for narrative color; nothing about parrying the blow on defense and driving the enemy back had been discussed at the conference, not even in the context of pure counterattack for defense -- and the wargamers aren't interested in simulating that, either. All the conference discussion had been about the new tactics of launching a surprise attack on an unexpecting enemy who has not quite completed his own preparation for attack, and that's what the wargame is trying to simulate (per Suvorov's report at least). But of course, if the narrative color for the start of the operation really happened, then the Westerners wouldn't be caught by surprise with a crushing blow against his airfields and so forth before his preparations for his own attack were ready.

JMH #2, 1992, p.22, clearly states, whether or not the conference documents do, that Nazi Germany was the enemy: "unfolding the main forces of the Red Army in the West and grouping the main forces against Eastern Prussia and in the direction of Warsaw brings about serious fears that the struggle on this front can turn into protracted fighting."

The second wargame, which starts immediately after the conclusion of the first, doesn't involve a surprise attack against Nazi Germany. It starts with the Easteners already one hundred kilometers inside the Westerner territory!  <:-)

Of the two Soviet games, "the debriefing of the first one is concluded at the highest political leadership level in the country." (per Zolotarev's article in "Red Star", December 27, 1990, page uncited.) That of course is a politically correct euphemism to mean Stalin debriefed the participants after the first game. He became convinced that the Red Army would get bogged down in Eastern Prussia, and decided that a strike on Europe should be delivered from the Ukraine and Moldova, not from an area north of Polesye.

Two games had to be played to simulate a concentration of thrust on either side of Polesye, the largest swampland region in Europe and maybe in the world. (I can't tell for sure, but Suvorov may be talking about Pripyat?) You can't go down the middle, and you can't feasibly be strong on both sides equally; so one side has to be the main invasion push. The game was testing which thrust should be primary and secondary. Both options have their pros and cons, and the games won't settle this dispute.

Consequently, the second game, played between January 8th and 11th, deals with "retaliatory measures" {Dr. Evil fingerquotes} in Romania, Hungary, and in Germany from that direction. Some generals are switched between teams; others don't play the second game at all, with other generals replacing them. But the main opponents remain the same -- except this time Zhukov, the commander of Kiev Military District, plays the Easterners, with Pavlov trying to defend Romania and Germany. Zhukov finds the going much easier in Romania than against the modern fortifications of Eastern Prussia, and especially likes having an indisputable superority of aviation, tanks, and paratroops. The second game ends with Zhukov's decision to attack Budapest, breaking through to Lake Balaton, and crossing the Danube River near Budapest. (An area we will be considering much later...!)


In 1945, when the Red Army seizes the archives of the Wehrmacht Heer, Soviet historians will bring out the single Nazi wargame of invading Russia, exposing their terrible plan. The Soviet two wargames after the conference, and the conference documents themselves, will be locked carefully away until the fall of the Soviet Union. (per JMH, #1, 1990, p.58.


December 1940: having watched the Wehrmacht crush Poland and western Europe under its treads, the United States decides it's time to get off horses and out of armored cars and put some tanks in production! Eventually they will field some decent tanks (and some much better tank destroyers, such as the Wolverine), but that will take several years.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 07:32:28 AM 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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2020, 08:46:45 PM »
It's the start of 1941. You know the drill by now -- but for the final year: Soviet fighter and bomber airfleet training manuals continue to focus teaching one massive ground strike instead of dogfighting.

By June 21, 1941, five corps and three independent divisions of level bombers will remain, mostly equipped with the two-engine Ilyushin DB-3f (aka the Il-4), a magnificent long-range medium bomber (the "DB" itself is an English-letter acronym for "long-range bomber" in Russian), first going into production in 1935. It performed the first loop of a Soviet bomber during testing, and went on to set several world records in its class, primarily based on its design requirements to drop a 1000kg bombload 3000km away at a speed not lesss than 350km/h! But (by Soviet standards anyway) it is not a strategic heavy bomber like the four-engine TB series. (TB-3s will also remain, but they are used to transport airmobile cargo and troops, not as a strategic bomber.)

DB-3s were the two bombers(!!) which infamously shot down the neutral Finnish civilian Junkers Ju-52 passenger transport during the Soviet usurpation of the Baltic states, on June 14th last year, carrying western diplomatic papers from Stalin’s putative allies.

The bomber is roughly equivalent to the Nazi He-111, except better in every performance metric since its arrival in 1935, and it has only gotten better since then. Fifteen DB-3Ts (the T indicates a torpedo bomber variant!), from the Soviet Baltic fleet, will drop the first Soviet bombs on Berlin on the night of August 7-8, later this year. They may not be organized into three aviation armies anymore, but five corps and three more divisons of (mostly) these bombers are nothing to sneeze at! -- imagine if Hitler had similar numbers of significantly improved He-111s! They just don’t have major roles in Stalin’s grand strategy right now.



Early 1941: Remember back when Stalin disbanded the NKVD Chief Directorate some years ago, in order to replace it with SIX NEW NKVD directorates?

Early this year, Stalin creates a seventh NKVD Chief Directorate! -- the CD for Rapid-response Forces (CDRF), commanded by former NKVD Special Operation Forces divisional commander Lieutenant-General Pavel Artyomyev.

The CDRF immediately creates and starts filling out dozens of motorized rifle divisions -- the equivalent of many corps, thus equaling several whole NKVD CDRF armies (although apparently(?) not organized that way). Each division will have over ten thousand troops, hundreds of thousands of troops in total.

Each NKVD CDRF motorized rifle division features a tank regiment (or even battalion), two or three motorized rifle regiments, a howitzer regiment (high arc fire for assaulting trenches and other defensive-works, not low-arc direct fire against incoming threats), and other units for flavor. (Howitzers can be used for long-distance defensive support, as in American Vietnam-era firebases, but they need firebase equivalents. Which will not be provided for these guns; they will be overrun out of defensive position at the start of Barbarossa.) Suvorov indirectly suggests by this order of battle, that these "divisions", although meant to be filled out to full strength eventually, start off more like brigades in manpower (with regiments and battalions as the immediate sub-units).

The name "Rapid-response Force" sounds defensive; and motorized rifle divisions can be used defensively, by stationing them well behind the front lines, able (as the name would suggest) to rapidly deploy to problem areas in response to invasion. (As Suvorov puts it in "Icebreaker", a tennis player expecting an attack hangs back away from the net in order to have the best chance of intercepting the incoming strike.) Every single NKVD CDRF MRD is deployed to the western border, however -- up next to the tennis net, metaphorically -- not well back from the border, in concurrence with Soviet invasion doctrine.

In other words, whole armies (worth) of motorized Secret Police death squads are being given howitzers and rushed to the front lines; not rushed to deploy against the recently invaded areas with a few pockets of military resistance remaining. In combat, they would have one and only one function this close to the line: as fast follow-up forces to a surprise blitzkrieg westward into Central and Western Europe (just like Hitler's SS motorized divisions into Russia). The Soviet invasion, like the eventual Nazi one, would blitz past any strong defensive points, cutting off supply and support, striking deep into civilian areas; the howitzer-armed secret police would arrive to root out the bypassed remaining strong defensive spots, and take control of the civilians.

Beria's CDRF will prove nearly useless for defensive warfare on Soviet territory; just as Hitler's SS motorized divisions will become nearly useless once the Red Army invades the German homeland -- although still more useful than Soviet NKVD CDRF MDRs, due to the higher quality training and equipment lavished on the SS: the most useful SS divisions are mechanized and armored, not simply motorized. The Soviet purpose for such divisions is to overwhelm static targets with relatively fast-moving quantity on a good road network (for wheels) unlike what is available in Russia at this time.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 07:38:00 AM 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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2020, 09:14:57 PM »
Start of 1941: Soviet Marshal Bagramayan reports that the 55th Rifle (standard infantry) Corps is putting several standalone airborne battalions through intensive assault training near the Romanian border. These units are intended to be parceled out to his (or other) divisions later on an as-needed basis. Bagramayan's description suggests that such training of airborne battalions by Rifle Corps is the rule, not the exception. He does not bother explaining why offensive assault battalions for striking the enemy's backfield by surprise, are being given intensive training near the Romanian border; their purpose would be presumably obvious.  ^-^

January 1, 1941: a poem in Pravda (converted into English rhyme and metrics by the "Icebreaker" translator): "In '41 new treasures we'll unearth, our shovels hitting layers rich in worth. Uranium may turn to just plain fuel, unleashed by cyclotrons, become the rule. Each year we fight for coal, to make more steel, each year we've won -- and surely win we will!... Our list of sixteen stars, it may expand with stars to join the row and grow our land..." This refers to the small nations added, by invasion conquest, to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in 1940; Pravda is being told to train its readers to expect more Soviet conquests in 1941.

From an article (author unsourced by Suvorov), same issue, "Great is our country: Earth herself has to keep turning for nine hours to let all our vast Soviet land enter a new year of fresh victories." This refers to past military victories in 1940, with new victories to come hopefully in 1941. "The time will come when she will need not nine hours, but all night and all day... And who knows where we will find ourselves toasting the New [year] five years, ten years hence: at what latitude, along which new Soviet meridian?" This is Soviet world conquest propaganda: fresh invasion victories should lead in ten years' time to the USSR stretching around the globe in both hemispheres.


January 1941: the Ammunition Narkomat has been ginning along steadily with new ammunition factories, since its inception back near the start of 1939; but it has turned out that making gunpowder and shells and cartridges where you assemble them into ammunition, is not such a great idea, compared to having separate factories for such things. Thus a chief directorate is set up this month for constructing gunpowder factories, shell factories, cartridge factories, and missile factories: twenty-three construction areas in all.

New storage facilities? -- no, no. Just new factories for producing the components to fabricate ammunition. They aren't planning to store all this new ammunition somewhere...  ::)  ^-^
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 09:03:23 AM »
Early January 1941: Stalin gathers a very tight-knit circle at the highest Soviet command level, to discuss the late December evidence that Hitler will attack the Soviet Union this year. (Suvorov doesn't give a date, since records aren't kept; he infers this from other evidence. The wargames about invading a "western" "enemy", cough, are probably still going on.)

Stalin has trouble believing it, suspecting this is some kind of counter-intelligence forgery. Why? Because Hitler would need years to even try to bring all Russia west of the Urals far enough under his control to have any hope of holding onto it through the winter and against expected counter-attacks; and it would be suicide for Hitler to try that without having finished fighting Britain in some successful way; and the evidence shows clearly enough that Hitler won't be finished fighting Britain early enough this year to start conquering western Russia! Yet the evidence seems strong enough to warrant watching out for Hitler, so as not to be caught by surprise.

Stalin has already back in December ordered new pre-GRU chief Golikov (the agency isn't called the GRU yet, but will next year) to come up with a foolproof plan to detect when, if ever, Hitler pulls the trigger on invading. Golikov has not been lax the past few weeks, and reports success! -- he can pinpoint the exact time Hitler's invasion, if at all, will start!

How?! Stalin naturally demands Golikov tell him the method, but it is so incredibly secret Golikov insists on sharing it with Stalin alone and no one else. Stalin agrees; and after hearing how Golikov plans to know, he accepts Golikov's ongoing briefs alone and in person.

So how will Golikov know not only when, but even if Hitler really intends to pull that trigger? Because, obviously, the Nazis will need all kinds of winter gear if they're going to seize control of any amount of western Russia this year -- or any year! So, Golikov has set up a very nuanced and detailed system to watch for massive winter weather preparations among many factors in Germany.

GRU residents across conquered Europe are ordered to track sheep, carefully checking and sifting all key organizations directly or indirectly tied to sheep. Over the course of several months in 1940, and then going forward, the number of sheep under Hitler's control (and where he might buy sheep products, such as Italy) are ascertained, along with the main sheep raising centers and slaughterhouses. Twice a day Golikov gets reports about mutton prices throughout Europe. If there's a sudden spike in wool prices due to a shortage, but a sudden cratering of mutton prices due to a glut of meat on the market, then you can be sure Hitler has ordered a massive amount of winter weather gear (at least six million sheepskins worth) for his troops.

Golikov also orders his agents to hunt up dirty rags and oil-soaked paper left by Nazi troops all around Europe -- the leftovers from where they're cleaning their weapons. The leftovers are supposed to be burned or buried in the ground, but that didn't always happen so the agents have plenty of opportunity to collect huge quantities of dirty rags. Those dirty rags are then sent back, in bulk, across the border, on Golikov's orders, wrapping pieces of scrap metal. Hitler's own secret police would check things of course, but all they ever found was only what was there: completely unimportant scrap metal wrapped in the most valuable dirty rags in world history, worth many times the weight of that scrap metal in platinum! Why? -- because once Hitler's soldiers start cleaning their weapons with special oils fit for Russian winter, then Hitler must be about to attack! There can be no option on this: standard German gun oils harden below water's freezing temperatures. Guns would jam and might even explode!

By the same token, Golikov has agent teams in Nazi territory sending lamps, heaters, stoves, and lighters as well as other primitive heaters. These could be regarded as contraband, so these get smuggled as well as legally imported into Russia. Why? Because these are military issue items, and Soviet experts are told to check the grade of kerosene. When Hitler starts distributing massive quantities of winter-grade kerosene to his troops, then he's planning to occupy proportionately large amounts of Soviet territory this winter! Again there's no option for this: standard kerosene breaks down below freezing, into non-combustible materials.

If those signals start showing up, you can expect an attack will definitely happen, perhaps within days depending on other factors happening at the border. Until they show up, don't worry, Hitler isn't going to attack yet.

But those special winter signals will never show up -- because Hitler isn't planning to do the impossible: he's only planning to wipe out the Soviet army while he can catch it out of position, and so hopefully inspire an uprising against the Soviet government, which will then distract and cripple Russia until whenever Hitler can get around to really conquering them.

How does Suvorov know Golikov's plan if Golikov never spoke of it but to Stalin in secret? Suvorov produces no records of the plan, of course; but he proposed the theory when he studied at the GRU Academy, and once he was posted as an analyst at GRU Headquarters he was able to research the files there and discover exactly the sorts of action his theory expected if Golikov was covertly watching carefully for Nazi winter preparations. This part of the thesis also fits some other things that will be happening, down to very-early-morning (after midnight) on June 22nd this year!
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2020, 12:34:00 PM »
January 13th, 1941: since late 1939, Chief of Staff Meretskov, veteran commander of the hard Soviet fight against the awe-inspiring Finnish security corridor during the Winter War, has been destroying the exponentially-more-awe-inspiring Soviet security corridors which he helped design and construct in the first place (such destruction being in direct violation of Soviet defensive regulations, per Suvorov). On this day, more than a year later, Stalin fires him, to be replaced with General Zhukov.

At the same time (date not clear from Suvorov but apparently around now?), as reported later in the JMH, 1963, #10, p.31, the General Staff declares the armies gathering along the border to be the First Strategic Echelon: the armies resolved by the 1932 Revolutionary Council, to be the invasion springboard for igniting the ultimate and final world war, while the Soviet Union calls upon all workers to rise up against all property owners worldwide, mobilizing ten million troops of its own (or eighteen million rather), for a relatively orderly deployment behind the "covering armies" of the First Echelon. Has the purpose of the First Echelon changed since 1932? "Accomplishing the mission of the invasion armies is to be the responsibility of the First Strategic Echelon," according to the General Staff.

Meanwhile, is Chief of the General Staff Meretskov fired for destroying the life-saving Russian defensive security corridor which would be their first and by far best protection against a Nazi invasion? No, he is fired for not being fast enough at building offensive transportation lines, bridges, and air bases in the former security corridor! The railroad system in the territories acquired after the division of Poland, only had about 6700km of tracks, and only 2008km of those went two ways, and they were of low capacity.

Construction intensifies to typically epic-Zhukov levels, who immediately adds 8 railway brigades to the Red Army's prior 5, massing (nearly) all of them in western border areas to lay down new lines leading to the edge of the frontier (per "Red Star", the Red Army newspaper, September 15, 1984.) Highways are also laid down leading to and from the border; not laterally deep within the backfield territory to shuttle armed forces for blocking progress back and forth parallel to the border. "The highway grid in Western Byelorussia and Western Ukraine was in bad shape. Many bridges could not take the weight of an average tank, or of artillery." (Marshal of the Soviet Union Zhukov, "Recollections and Reflections", p.207.)

Had Zhukov been planning on defense, he would have not been complaining, but would have been making the situation even worse for an invading army, and salting the area with anti-tank cannons; but he starts building more highways (to and from the border) and replacing old bridges with armor-capable modern structures. The NKVD, in Soviet sources (such as Chief Marshal of the Air Force Novikov's "In the skies over Leningrad", p.65), supply many work crews to help Zhukov in making the border much easier for armies to move through. These of course are "GULAG" prisoner work crews, acting surprisingly close to border areas where they would want to escape.

At this same time, "In early 1941, the Hitlerites proceeded to build bridges, railway spur lines and air strips," pointing toward their side of the border, as quoted from the official "History of Red-Banner-Winner Kiev Military District, 1919-1972", p.147. The Soviets, and everyone else, correctly interpreted these as logistic preparations for invasion. Three pages earlier however the Kiev Military District history writes, "Railway forces in Western Ukraine were working on expanding and reinforcing the grid."

The railroad brigades are not at the same time preparing barriers for these railroads! They will be so unused to building defensive barriers, in fact, that "Soviet Railway Forces" p.98 will later call it "tough and unfamiliar work" when they must do so during the Nazi invasion. They had battalions geared to patching up tracks ("Soviet Armed Forces", p.242) -- not only repairing Soviet gauge tracks, but repairing and converting enemy tracks, which Suvorov (source unclear, or unsourced) claims was their primary mission.


Poor Chief of the General Staff Meretskov, architect of the now destroyed Stalin Line (which he helped destroy), fired for not building offensive infrastructure fast enough where he could have been building a new Stalin Line (had he been ordered to). Alas, thrown into prison for his treachery in following his orders, to suffer a nine millimeter brain hemmor---

...what? Oh, wait, sorry that was just a guess: that isn't what happens. Stalin promotes him to Deputy People's Commissar for Defense!  <:-) As the forward representative for the Commissar on the field, Meretskov gives more orders to more generals and marshals from this position; including touring the Nazi border with them, like he used to do as Leningrad Military District Commander before the Soviet invasion of Finland, where he can see firsthand what kind of Soviet preparations his marshals and generals are doing.

Once Hitler's generals panzer-blitz over his practically non-existent defenses, however, Meretskov will surely be... um.... ....ah, let's see... oh, he's promoted eventually to a Marshal of the Soviet Union, and will show up touring Manchuria's borders, under the guise of "Colonel-General Maximov", with his soon-to-be-invading generals in 1945, before they launch a surprise attack blitzkrieg on the Japanese. "I myself traveled up and down on an all-terrain vehicle, in places even on horseback, covering all sectors," he'll recall for "Red Star", June 7, 1987. Never mind, then, carry on!  ::)
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2020, 03:47:22 PM »
January 16, 1941, from Halder’s diary, “Anti-aircraft gun battalions of the land army, forty battalions. The special personnel for them have yet to be prepared. This is feasible only by autumn.” Fortunately they’re planning to wipe out most of the Soviet Air Force in the first few days. Better hope the whole rotten structure caves in after only three weeks of kicking in the door, then! -- but if not, at least you’ll start getting anti-air battalions by then.


January 28, 1941, from Halder’s diary, “The fuel situation is serious. We can count on fuel supply during the period of concentration and deployment, and two months of operations.” That’s with captured fuel, assuming it takes longer than three weeks for Soviet socialism to implode.

“Automobile tires. The situation is very serious.” It’s unclear if they’ll even have two months of truck and car tires. Keep in mind, their whole logistic plan will require remaking the Russian railway system from scrap (using captured engines and railcars meanwhile) -- somewhat literally from scrap after the Nazi bombers have gotten done with the rail network! -- and then the supplies will have to be gotten from the rail lines to the front lines by trucks. If those tires go out, that’s the end of the fight soon afterward.

Keep in mind that in one general sense, Hitler’s generals are planning a three month war if necessary on two months of supplies; but also on a three week war on two weeks of initial supplies. The variance in timing comes from hopefully minimum to hopefully maximal time to inflict enough damage for civil war to erupt and take down or at least paralyze Stalin’s Soviet Union long enough for Hitler to deal with Britain and otherwise consolidate his European gains (then to do something about Russia eventually). The other variance in timing comes from some having perhaps enough of some crucial supplies for two months, but having enough of other crucial supplies for only two weeks -- and then being able to somewhat randomly capture more of what they need, thanks to Stalin’s strategic forward deployments. Taking Moscow is meant to be the last expected chance of breaking the Soviet system, if necessary, but hopefully not necessary: the whole rotten structure might collapse much sooner. Hopefully.

This leads in turn to a certain lack of clarity about how to achieve the desired goal and how long it will take. From Halder’s war diary again, “Operation Barbarossa. The goal of the campaign is unclear. It does not at all affect England. Our economic base does not improve from this.” Right, which is why the general goal is to cause a governmental collapse as soon as possible. If not...! “If we are tied down in Russia, the situation will become even more difficult... Operation Barbarossa is extremely risky.”
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2020, 04:08:30 PM »
February 1941: Zhukov insists that General Tulenyev, commander of the Moscow Military District, and the third highest ranking general in the Red Army, shall be assigned as commander of the Southern Front instead of (apparently) the Western Front. The Southern Front won't be formally created until the day before Barbarossa, but secretly several border Military Districts will already be converted to Front Headquarters by then. In fact, Southern Front will already have a headquarters commander by the day before Barbarossa (though he'll be busy escorting a special corps to the border from Crimea).

Why secretly assign and convert Military Districts to Fronts? Because Soviet Fronts are important signals that the Soviet Military is starting military operations. Prewar data shows the logistical arm directly subordinate to each Front command was, all by itself, to have up to two hundred thousand soldiers. While a Military District can still exist during wartime, Fronts are only created at the beginning of a war (as for example per the Soviet Military Encyclopedia, Vol.8, p.332.) A Far Eastern Front (with two and then later three armies) was set up in 1938 due to active hostilities with Japan, and even up to this time there are skirmishes involving hundreds of tanks and aircraft although no formal declaration of war. Fronts had been created briefly on the Soviet western border during 1939 and 1940 for each of the "liberation crusade" invasions, most recently for Bessarabia and Bukhovina (at the time Romanian territories). Once hostilities ceased (i.e. the Soviets conquered their target areas) the Fronts as such were disbanded back into Military Districts.

Stalin's enemies are painfully well aware of this, so he is making his preparations for the conversion of Military Districts to Fronts in secret.

Some of these arrangements are subtle, carrying meaning only to Soviet military specialists. For example, the Western Special Military District this month creates a second deputy district commander's slot. Why? Army General Pavlov (soon to be commander of the Western Front) has a Deputy Commander already and numerous subordinates. Well, he must have some special need for a second deputy, so whom does he choose, or who is assigned to him? Nobody. No one at all. The second deputy commander's post is quietly created in February 1941, and then stays vacant for a few months. Then Lieutenant-General Kurdyumov will come to fill it -- shortly before Barbarossa.

So what's going on here?!

To explain: in Soviet military doctrine, the MD commander is in effect a military governor having authority over all civilians as well as military forces in his district. If a Military District ever converts to a Front, however, three broad possibilities happen: fighting in place, fighting in retreat, and fighting in advance (an invasion). In the first two possibilities, the MD Commander (Pavlov in this case) converts to a Front Commander but continues being the military governor over the civilians; even trying to help withdraw them to safety if he is being invaded. But those are emergency situations; Military Districts are intended to serve as support preparation and forming-up points for Soviet armies to invade a neighboring government: ideally and normally the third possibility happens. In that case, the plan requires for the Front Commander to have a second deputy, so that the Commander can move his headquarters toward and into foreign territory and manage the invasion with one deputy while the other stays behind helping his logistic situation and, of course, continuing the military governance of the civilians in the (former) District.

Specifically for this example, in peacetime Pavlov's duty station is in Minsk, with one deputy, currently Lieutenant-General Boldin, and his chief of staff, currently Major-General Klimovskikh. Once war starts, Pavlov would switch over smoothly and instantly to Commander Western Front, Klimovskikh the Front Chief of Staff, and Deputy Boldin would, in this case, take command of a Western Front mobile team as Pavlov's representative on the very front line. If Pavlov is planning to defend in place, or worse to defend in withdrawal, he doesn't need a second deputy. But if Pavlov is planning to move the Front HQ out of Minsk and follow an invasion, bringing his Chief of Staff with him, and sending his first Deputy up as the front line leader (the on-map boss, in western operational parlance), someone has to stay behind in Minsk as his personal representative.

That position, only needed when planning and executing an invasion, has now been created, in February 1941; and some months later, Kurdyumov, who was once in charge of the Red Army's Directorate of Combat Training, will arrive to get up to speed on administering things in Minsk, so that he can act as a homeland military governor in backfield support while Pavlov is invading whatever is on the Western Special Military District border. Sitting upon the conveyor belt for more and more fresh westbound reserves will be precisely the best choice of general for optimally preparing those troops to go on into the largest liberation crusade in Soviet history.

Unless whoever is on the other side of that border strikes first, catching them all off balance and unprepared to defend.

The same thing is happening this February down in the Kiev Special Military District, where plans are setting up for four armies, ten stand-alone corps, plus no less than ten air divisions. Top secret documents will already start referring to this unofficially as what it will become on June 22nd later this year: Southwestern Front. Its commander is Colonel-General Kirponos. Does he quietly get a second deputy slot? Yes he does! -- General Yakovlyev will arrive to fulfill it. Once he arrives, a clandestine command center for SW Front HQ will be set up in Ternopol. Official HQ will stay in Kiev, along with Yakovlyev, or specifically in the Kiev suburb Brovary deep in a massive bunker. The Ternopol command center, where Front Commander Kirponos is going, is very understandably only a string of dugouts which will be hastily thrown up. He isn't meant to hunker down there for any length of time, so why do more?

North again into the Baltic Special Military District, starting to be described unofficially as Northwestern Front. The top officers, including Baltic MD commander Colonel-General Kuznyetsov, will quietly take off for Panevyezhis. General Safronov will arrive to stay behind in Riga as the second district deputy.

Things will be more complicated for the Odessa Military District. Chief of Staff Major-General Zakharov, not the MD Commander Colonel-General Cherevichenko, will pick up most of Odessa MD's officers on June 20th, and roll them over, not into a Front HQ, but into 9th Army's HQ -- which makes sense once 9th Army starts getting beefed up to the size of one of Hitler's four Panzer Groups! 9th Army will become practically a Front unto itself! What about Cherevichenko? Oh, don't worry, he will be in personal charge of the 9th Army (or so he plans); that's where his Front HQ will be! But earlier he will stealthily leave Odessa to go into the Crimea to take over 9th Special Corps (formed in the Caucasus), to bring back as his flagship corps, so to speak, when taking command of the 9th Army. (He'll be caught on the trains when Hitler invades.) Does he get a second deputy? Yes, indeed, Chibisov will already be there, up to speed, staying behind on June 20th when 9th HQ is raised to combat alert status (two days before Barbarossa) and the rest of the MD HQ staff pack up to secretly move to the Army where they plan to meet up with the Front Commander Cherevichenko as his Front HQ.

Is there no exception to this second deputy assignment? Ah, Leningrad Military District! It is still secretly being regarded from February 1941 onwards as Northern Front, but it gets no second deputy. This however fits perfectly into the scenario: it is Northwestern Front's Colonel-General Kuznyetsov, not Northern Front's Lieutenant-General Popov, who gets the second deputy. Leningrad MD is set much farther back from the border, or rather its border is with Finland mostly. Once it becomes a Front, even if its flanking neighbors are invading Nazi territory, its forces would not be expected to move far at first. They can serve as reserves for Fronts on either side, doled out to Northern Front's neighbors as they find need, and otherwise focus on Finland. Its staff, including Popov, will be making secret trips from MD HQ to the Nazi border, but they won't be moving Front HQ out there, so Leningrad has no need for a second MD deputy.
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2020, 01:06:59 PM »
February 1941: Soviet colonels and higher ranks, especially among paratroopers, commandos, and intelligence types, start being assigned competent and loyal ethnic German officers as their aides. So do Soviet cavalry commanders, who are slowly being transferred out of their assault backfield raiding units of horses, into airborne and tanks (just as was happening in Germany). Afterward, the Soviet commanders will joke about it in their memoirs, saying things like, "There a war starts, with the Germans, and my personal radio operator -- who would've thought it? -- is a German! Of course, the little guy is a fine fellow, disciplined, tried and true." Aside from Military Intelligence Colonel Starinov (of "Mines Awaiting Their Moment"), who will soon be deployed to the western border with his Soviet ethnic German driver, some examples are: Colonel Stein, commanding 2nd Airborne Brigade of the 2nd Airborne Corps, who has a German private among his orderlies. Colonel Rodimtsev also has a German driver. Cavalry Colonel (subsequently Major-General) Lev Dovator has not gone airborne yet, but his widow remembers (in a "Red Star" article, February 17, 1983), "In our regiment there was one German. Now Lev Mikhailovich, you see, brought him over to our home every day, so they would keep practicing, and by the time the war started [Lev] already spoke fluent German."


February 1941: after sending regiments and whole divisions of NKVD to "eradicate hostile elements" and "cleansing territory" in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Western Ukraine, and Byelorussia throughout 1940, slaughtering military officers, teachers, clergy, police, writers, jurists, journalists, farmers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else regarded as defending the ownership of property (such as in the 1939 Polish Katya massacre along with two other such mass murder secret graveyards in Poland); NKVD combat units now start massing along the frontier of East Prussia, occupied Poland, and Romania.

Not only 47 ground and 5 naval border detachments, plus 11 regiments, totaling around 100,000 men, but also the NKVD 4th Division (commanded by NKVD Colonel Mazhirin) on the Romanian border (including NKVD 57th regiment detachments parked on the eastern side of the border bridges); NKVD 10th Division in the Rava-Russkaya area (with its 16th Cavalry Regiment concentrated at border outposts); and NKVD 21st Motorized Rifle Division on the Finnish border along with NKVD 1st Division (commanded by NKVD Colonel Donskov). The NKVD 22nd Motorized Rifle Division is in Lithuania. "We shall crush the Beast in its own den," vows Commissar-General for State Security Beria, the infamous secret police leader, in February 1941 (specific source unreported by Suvorov). These are the first arrivals of next massive wave of divisions to be deployed westward before June 22; not all of which will arrive before Hitler invades.
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2020, 02:16:25 PM »
February 1941: Soviet Marshal Zhukov, in his "Recollections and Reflections", p.194, recalls a discussion about the defensive merits of the Molotov Line, which he was helping build: "The fortified sectors are being built too close to the border, in a pattern that, operationally, leaves us at an extreme disadvantage, especially in the Byelostok salient [where marshals after-the-fact said they were expecting the second strongest invasion strike]. From around Brest and Suwalka, this lets the enemy strike at the rear of our Byelostok group of forces. The FS, moreover, given their limited depth, cannot sustain battle for long, since enemy artillery can shell them through and through."

Zhukov this month now holds the position of Commander of the Red Army's General Staff. Once he took command earlier this month, he did direct work in the area to increase at typically epic Zhukov pacing -- but not on the Molotov fortified sectors! Several, such as around Brest, were actually relegated to secondary status (per Anfilov, "Immortal Feat", p.166.) Suvorov quips that by Soviet Russian standards, relegating to secondary status means work almost halted! Starinov confirms: "The fortified sectors on the old borders [i.e. the old Stalin Line] went right on being stripped of armaments, while construction on the new borders [the Molotov Line] was held to a snail's pace." (Starinov, p.178)

Yet according to captured German 48th Motorized Corps documents, Nazi commanders report round-the-clock work at Brest, and at night "the Russians [are] using flood-lights while building their pillboxes". Work on the Brest portion of the Molotov Line almost halts; but the Soviets still shine floodlights on their work at night so that the Germans can see them constantly working on their almost-halted efforts!

Eventual Marshal of the Soviet Union Bagramayan will later (JMH, 1976, #1, p.54) call the Molotov Line "an intentional sham". Even back in 1940, while acting as personal friend and subordinate of Zhukov, Bagramayan was watching a Fortified Sector under construction "in plain view of the Germans." Sites are fenced off with some boards: "To me, this bit of board fencing was reminiscent of fig leaves on antique statues. [...] 'What do you think?' I asked the man in charge at one of the sites. 'Can the Germans guess what your crews are putting up here, on the banks of a border river, behind these little boards?' 'No question about it!' answered he, without hesitation. 'It would not be hard to figure out what sort of building we're doing.' It occurred to me, what those tactically ignorant enough to have picked these construction sites had done, you could easily call sabotage! The same thing evidently had happened earlier, too."

Bagramayan defines this activity as "An obvious sham of working on defense," but quickly adds, "higher authority had approved the project plans." He means higher than the Military District commander who was personally responsible for the Fortified Sectors. Who is next up the chain in higher command? That would be Zhukov! -- who had made a similar show not long previously (which may be the "same thing [that] had happened earlier, too" which Bagramayan mentions). Zhukov, back in August 1939, had created similar light fortifications right on the border of Mongolia, off to the side of his planned lines of advance, where they could support the initial steps of invasion, and where the Japanese could see apparently harmless defensive preparations being lightly but quickly erected, giving an appearance of weak defense. Zhukov would later in his memoirs praise his successful strategy there, leading to a crushing Soviet blitz into Mongolia, blasting a Japanese occupation army, before withdrawing.

So it should not be surprising that Bagramayan does not personally yell a halt order in the face of the construction commander; nor does he return to Zhukov to report that they can both expect a firing squad thanks to Zhukov's orders to spend millions of rubles on building fortifications that the enemy can safely blast off the face of the Earth at any moment if the enemy decides to attack -- which is exactly what will happen on June 22, 1941. Bagramayan is one of the shrewdest men alive, a man who will enter WW2 as a Colonel and finish as a four-star general: he knows what the Fortified Sectors of Military Districts are intended for in Soviet military doctrine. He and his friend and master Zhukov will be promoted by Stalin after June 22nd.

Colonel-General Sandalov, in his memoirs "Overcome", p.64, reports some comments at the time from Brest Fortified Sector Commander Major-General Puzyryev. The general is commanded to hide Soviet forces in the woods, ordering them to stay out of sight, "not to provoke war". But at the same time, he is ordered to relentlessly throw their preparation for defense in the enemy's face for days and nights on end, without concern for triggering diplomatic or military complications. Did he at least think the his Molotov Line frantic defensive constructions were suitable? "Perching the fortified sector on the very border was not business as usual. Earlier, we had always built pillboxes some distance from the border. Here, though, we had no choice. We had to go by not just military, but also political considerations." This is a polite euphemism for saying Stalin and/or other high commanders insisted on it.

In his "Assignment: Moscow" (p.53), Sandalov talks again about being surprised to see pillboxes being built close enough to the frontier for the Nazis to see them. Baffled, he questions Chuikov (previously a Far East commander). With a mock sigh Chuikov says it's a pity, but, yes, the Germans certainly are noticing these defense works being put up. Guderian will launch the war from the other side of this border river, and records that he did indeed get a good look at the Soviets building pillboxes by day and under bright lights at night. Guderian personally ordered much the same thing, on a much hastier basis, right before invading Poland. And he is himself doing the same thing now. Both sides allow the enemy to pinpoint gun emplacement layouts and gun port directions, so as to easily figure out how and where assault fire would be directed.

It must be stressed that almost all the Soviet engineering troops are concentrating along the western borders, furiously at work doing something! Later in 1978, "Soviet Military Forces" (published by Voyenizdat in Moscow) will be fairly blunt (on page 255) about their task being to prepare the "initial points for attack, [the] foundation of passageways for columns [i.e. columns of troops to march and drive through]... operational and tactical camouflage, organization of joint action in the storming groups with infantry and tanks; [and] to provide the equipment for crossing rivers." But in a defensive war you don't need to storm across your border rivers with infantry and tanks! -- you need to be ensuring your enemy cannot storm across the border river to hit his own initial points for attack on your side!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 07:54:30 AM 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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2020, 08:20:13 AM »
February 21, 1941: in "Soviet Armed Forces Logistics during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945", p.33, eventual Marshal of the Soviet Union Kurkotkin tells that the General Staff on this day gives to the People's Commissariat for Transportation all necessary paperwork for moving the Second Strategic Echelon westward.

The General Staff, of course, did not wake up this morning, decide to create organizational containers for seventy-seven divisions in central and eastern Russia, and to move them all westward to the border, during breakfast while catching up on what each other's grandchildren were doing, then signing a few forms to get it started!

They have been preparing this documentation for months, considering the orders and instructions to railway forces as to when, where, and what kind of support to provide; how to cloak loading and transfer (more on the crazy levels of attempted secrecy later); how to route traffic; where to take on fuel and supplies (at no main or medium-sized stations, by the way!); and where to set up sites for mass unloading of troops. Naturally they must also pinpoint which troops would go where and when; for which orders must also be in (at least) initial preparation about mustering those divisions near railway loading areas, and which ones shall move first.

These 77 divisions do not count the NKVD Divisions also gathering at the border, nor the divisions (now officially designated as part of First Echelon Armies) already there.

How far back was this decision first officially made? August 19th, 1939, when many of these 77 divisions were first conceptually formed and the others soon afterward. The 85th Division, for example, was created by the Politburo decision and started its formal existence in late August 1939; in September 1939, the 159th Division. By June 21st, the 85th will be parked on the German borders in the region of Augustov, watching the NKVD cutting down the Soviet barbed wire -- but not the Nazi wire, because the Nazis will have finished doing that two weeks earlier for some very famous reason coming up on June 22nd!  ^-^ The 159th will be in the 6th Army by then, at the Rava-Russkyaya border. The same month of September 1939 saw the creation of 125th and 128th Rifle Divisions in the Ural Military District, as another example, and they will also be parked “on the immediate borders”, of East Prussia in their case.

The go-order for this doesn’t start yet for all the divisions -- only for some of them now in February. But the trickle westward will increase steadily to a flood between now and the end of June. More on this later.
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2020, 08:53:31 AM »
February 1941: another winter on the border is finishing for the divisions of the newly designated First Echelon Armies already on the border. Perhaps now they will start planning better for the 41-42 winter? Nope, even their current barely-winter-suitable 'housekeeping' stops!

What about the newly arriving NKVD Divisions, straining even farther the pauce billeting of the First Echelon? No, they are too busy to even start planning to make winter quarters (though perhaps they are using their cachet as elite political death squads to kick some Red Army units out of what barracks they already have).

Soon, the Second Strategic Echelon divisions are going to start arriving; on top of divisions already here, and new divisions still being formed along the border, and other First Echelon divisions being moved up to the border meanwhile. But the Second Echelon have no plans to build even minimally-suitable winter quarters either!

Moreover, according to Bagramayan (indirectly cited without quotes from his article in JMH, 1976, #1, p.62), every single First Strategic Echelon division will leave behind their dugouts and unfinished barracks to head into the border belt, right up to the border. (This will really kick into gear on June 13th, much more on that later!) Is this so that the Second Echelon can camp in their dugouts and unfinished barracks? Nope, when they arrive they won't even take advantage of those, much less build any new dugouts. Second Echelon won't even build new gunnery ranges and practice areas.

Will Second Echelon be busy finally starting serious defenses in the backfield? Nope, Second Echelon won't even start digging trenches. According to Suvorov, "Reams of official documentation as well as Soviet generals' and marshals' memoirs corroborate that this second wave of troops camped out, nothing more."

In “Chief Culprit” Suvorov cites a random example: on March 1941, the 118th Division, of the 16th Rifle Corps, of the 11th Army, is created in the Baltic region -- this is the headquarter container at first, of course, with some core troops to start the subordinate regiments and battalions etc. In May the reserve troops assigned to this division will start to arrive, and will put up a temporary summer camp made of tents in the Kozlovo Ruda region, 45 to 50 kilometers from the state border. On or shortly after June 13th (about which much more later!), they’ll abandon this tent city and march for the border. Right next to it, starting on June 18th, will be the 28th Tank Division, doing the same.

In other words, Stalin and his high command intend for practically none of the divisions already at, or arriving at, or planning to arrive at the border this year, to winter on the border. Stalin intends for one hundred and ninety-one Red Army divisions (plus however many NKVD divisions) to winter somewhere else, one way or another.  ^-^

They won't be sitting around counting trees, either: they'll be running combat training 8 to 10 hours a day -- plus also night exercises, self-training, weapons maintenance, and drills under arms. (For example, Major-General and later Marshal of the Soviet Union Moskalenko's memoir, "In the Southwestern Sector: Recollections of an Army Commander", p.18.)
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

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Re: IceBreakChron VII: COUNTDOWNS
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2020, 09:06:19 AM »
Spring 1941: the glider office of the People's Commissariat for Aviation Industry has completed its preparations at last, and its factories start churning out mass-produced assault gliders, in numbers sufficient to drop hundreds of thousands of paratroops and light airmobile units (not counting more standard airmobile units which would need to arrive in normal aircraft once landing zones are seized).

Unlike other weapon systems which can be stored for years or even decades and then be used, gliders rot quickly. The Soviets will not be ignorant of this, because they have been out-producing the entire rest of the world combined in gliders for the past decade. Anyone and everyone professionally connected with glider production will know: gliders produced in the spring of 1941, must be used before mid-autumn 1941, at the very latest. They will be useless afterward that year, and will not even functionally exist by spring 1942.

This signifies the start of a(nother!) ticking clock. If the Soviet Union does not launch a light airborne assault troop operation, equivalent in equipment-type to the (eventual) Market-Garden drops, but about three times larger than the total multi-day drop, by mid-September of 1941 at the latest (for all practical purposes), then this freakish number of gliders (and the resources and manpower being feverishly spent on them) will be wasted. Earlier than mid-September will be exponentially better.

If the Soviet Union does use them, they can only be used for offensive invasion.

If they are not preceded by some surprise and overwhelming operation to clear the sky of interceptors, they will be shot out of the sky by standing and scrambling combat air patrols: the Soviet Union must first attain full air supremacy (as the Germans had generally done in their parachute invasions recently, and as the Allies would do more solidly for Overlord and Market-Garden). Suppressing the ground anti-air would also be very helpful first (as was unable to be done for Overlord although the Allies tried, leading to the loss of many gliders and towing aircraft in the air with their crews and cargos).

If the landing sites are not secured first by equivalent numbers of airborne parachutists (surviving their own preliminary drops), they will be shot up on the ground immediately before or during initial deployment, and/or crash and burn.

If the chute and glider invasion is not followed quickly by heavier airmobile troops in proper transport aircraft, and then soon afterward by strong ground invasion forces, the invasion will be eaten up on the ground and fail. The Soviets have been practicing for just such maneuvers at the division and corps level for years, and will continue right up to the day before Barbarossa.

If Germany invades first, of course, all the gliders will be wasted at best, if not captured on the ground. Which is exactly what will happen later this summer. Gliders can be of some use in a very prepared counterattack, assuming air supremacy has already been achieved; but they are of no use in defending against an attack.

Gliders are basically large parachutes for equipment or a squad of ground troops. Actual parachute troops would deploy from powered aircraft. Fortunately, back in 1938, the world's best transport and air-assault deployment craft in 1941 (and throughout the war), the American C-47 (developed from the civilian DC-3, accidentally mis-translated as the S-47 in "Chief Culprit", those letters being equivalent in Russian), was licensed by the United States, including provision of the most complex equipment necessary for its production, for Soviet production as the PS-84 (eventually renamed the LI-2 in 1942 in honor of the chief engineer of their Russian production factory). Around 234 will be built (aside from any lend-leasing, and 57 prior test productions) by June 1941, in PS-84 "passenger" configuration although that is a little misleading -- they could be used in a pinch as chute deployment. Fortunately, for the sake of convenience, they will be painted a camouflage green right at the factories during production; consequently, they will not need repainting later should war perhaps happen to occur!

By themselves, this is hardly enough to even begin supporting hundreds of thousands of glider-borne troops by an advanced para-drop invasion, but the Soviet Union has hundreds and hundreds of various 'obsolete' light, medium, and even heavy bombers capable of being quickly (or already) converted over to para-drop duty. All the mega-airdrops in the 1930s were carried out with several hundred converted TB-3s for example, which by themselves were capable of dropping several thousand parachute assault troops as well as ferrying light tanks, armored cars, and artillery.

None of that would work without the enemy ground forces being absolutely plastered with close assault aircraft; but the Soviet Union has the most cost-effective mass-produced, and also the highest quality, strike aircraft in the world (the Su-x series and the Il-2, respectively) -- and is moving those aircraft up to the borders where not already there.

"Red Star", the Soviet military magazine, reminded its readers back on September 27th, 1940, that landing substantial airmobile troops is impossible without absolute Soviet air supremacy; and Field Manual 39 (the 1939 edition, still in force in spring 1941) clearly spells out that conducting a "deep-penetration operation" of any kind, especially a mass airdrop of paratroopers, is feasible only given Soviet air supremacy.

FM-39, also Air Force Combat Regulations, as well as the "Operational Directives for Independent Use of Aircraft", require a major Soviet war to initially launch an enormous strategic operation designed to crush enemy airpower on the ground. The air forces of several fronts, naval aviation, and fighter aviation, are all supposed to participate in such an operation. But the success of their theory depends entirely on the extent to which it could achieve strategic and tactical surprise.
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.