Op Barbarossa - and Ultra ?

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Which I believe was over complicated and engineered and slow to produce compared to the T34, plus the German's almost fetish for competing companies to produce weapons systems, rather than mass produce systems that worked.
If memory serves me right, the T-34's turret was a casting which they didn't machine on the outside - and only on the inside where fittings had to go. It was a philosophy the Russians applied to most of their weapons - they'd only last a short time before being destroyed/lost/beyond repair, so don't waste time giving then a nice finish.

The Germans did the reverse. When Milch finally got his hands on aircraft production, one of the first things he did was stop them putting beautifully hand-stitched leather seats in aircraft, replacing them with cheaper mass produced alternatives. Then he set about simplifying and standardising aircraft production. The Ju 88 used some 4,000 different sizes of bolt; each the precise size for the location it was in. Milch simplified that to a few hundred. A 25 mm long bolt will do the same job as a 20 mm long one, as long as the extra length doesn't foul anything.

Although the Germans ramped up their production in the closing years of the war, it was stupidity like hand stitched leather seats and multiplicities of bolt sizes that let the Russians greatly outproduce them in the middle years of the war.

Wordsmith
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
The other thing that is puzzling is why given Hitlers view of the Russian and Slavic races is why he didn't deploy chemical weapons during the invasion and subsequently during the retreat. Was it due to his experiences during WW1?
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
The other thing that is puzzling is why given Hitlers view of the Russian and Slavic races is why he didn't deploy chemical weapons during the invasion and subsequently during the retreat. Was it due to his experiences during WW1?
It would probably have resulting in Bomber Command dropping chemical munitions on German cities. The UK produced many thousands of tons of mustard gas during the war. The UK's policy was no first use, but retaliate if necessary.

The Germans were also unaware that the Allies hadn't developed nerve gases, and were equally worried about retaliation from those.

Wordsmith
 
The other thing that is puzzling is why given Hitlers view of the Russian and Slavic races is why he didn't deploy chemical weapons during the invasion and subsequently during the retreat. Was it due to his experiences during WW1?
I wonder if it was fear of giving the UK an excuse to let loose.

The UK played either a very dirty or inspired game when it came to WW1 Chemical Warfare depending on your views

Step 1 develop compounds you think are next on Germanys list / logical Progression
Step 2 Work towards Protective equipment
Step 3 Waite for Germany to deploy said Weapon
Step 4 Scream foul " Look at what the dirty Boche has done now"
Step 5 State you are free to retaliate in kind
Step 6 Demonstrate once and for all that whilst zee Germans may have got it deployed 1st - Its Britain that's the master of delivery. By giving it back in spades from projectors far more efficient than those the Germans had.

Of course it may be that in 41 he didn't want to contaminate ground and post 44 not the resources to manufacture and get them forward
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
I wonder if it was fear of giving the UK an excuse to let loose.
Plans were in hand. Although it can get a bit embarrassing when the Luftwaffe lucks a hit on the ship carrying the mustard gas.

Air raid on Bari - Wikipedia
One of the destroyed vessels—the U.S. Liberty ship John Harvey—had been carrying a secret cargo of 2000 M47A1 mustard gas bombs, each holding 60–70 lb (27–32 kg) of the agent. According to Royal Navy historian Stephen Roskill, this cargo had been sent to Europe for potential retaliatory use if Germany carried out its threatened use of chemical warfare in Italy.

The destruction of John Harvey caused liquid sulfur mustard from the bombs to spill into waters already contaminated by oil from the other damaged vessels. The many sailors who had abandoned their ships into the water became covered with this oily mixture which provided an ideal solvent for the sulfur mustard. Some mustard evaporated and mingled with the clouds of smoke and flame. The wounded were pulled from the water and sent to medical facilities whose personnel were unaware of the mustard gas. Medical staff focused on personnel with blast or fire injuries and little attention was given to those merely covered with oil. Many injuries caused by prolonged exposure to low concentrations of mustard might have been reduced by bathing or a change of clothes
Wordsmith
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
It would probably have resulting in Bomber Command dropping chemical munitions on German cities. The UK produced many thousands of tons of mustard gas during the war. The UK's policy was no first use, but retaliate if necessary.
The main agent was Anthrax to devestate the German countryside. The UK produced many millions of Anthrax laced cattle cakes which churchill was prepared touse but the Air Staff were horrified at the thought. The longevity and difficulty in decontamination is amply demonstrated by Gruinard Island.
 
Although the Germans ramped up their production in the closing years of the war, it was stupidity like hand stitched leather seats and multiplicities of bolt sizes that let the Russians greatly outproduce them in the middle years of the war.
The iconic German gas mask case was a prime example of this sort of wasteful lunacy. That was made of ribbed sheet metal with plain sheet metal ends, one being hinged with a built in container for spare lenses. This meant it had to be painted, also more and more of a luxury as the war went on.

Every other country just issued a plain canvas satchel, even the US and the USSR whose rates of production were many times that of Germany.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
The main agent was Anthrax to devestate the German countryside. The UK produced many millions of Anthrax laced cattle cakes which churchill was prepared touse but the Air Staff were horrified at the thought. The longevity and difficulty in decontamination is amply demonstrated by Gruinard Island.

BBC documentary , just 20 years after the events.


and a more youthful go around in 2017

 
The other thing that is puzzling is why given Hitlers view of the Russian and Slavic races is why he didn't deploy chemical weapons during the invasion and subsequently during the retreat. Was it due to his experiences during WW1?
In the war's early stages, the major belligerents stuck to the Geneva Protocol (signed by Germany). There seems to have been a policy of restraint while each power bragged about its capability, but didn't risk following through and did not resort to toxic weapons on a grand scale. Moreover it's entirely possible that Hitler was terrified of Churchill's reprisals against all of Germany, if Nazi CW was deployed against Russia.

| Realistically the European belligerents were probably short of raw materials and equipment, and Intel (JIC Memos) didn't suggest that the Axis would seriously initiate CW. But if Germany were to use CW against Russia: Churchill threatened to retaliate in kind, "exactly as if it were used against ourselves". WSC would have gassed Germany using our Western air superiority. The US threatened similar reprisals against Japan in 1942.

All belligerents assumed that the use of CW in one theatre would trigger global escalation. However, the Allies did fear the use of Axis NBC weapons particularly if/when Europe and Japan were invaded, as a last desperate resort. Ergo there was a ratified Anglo-American CW Policy by 1942 |

The Asiatic theatre looks different; the Japanese using B&C agents against the Chinese. Okunoshima/Rabbit island was where the Japanese manufactured poison gas for their invasion of China. There is plenty of evidence including millions of abandoned Japanese CW weapons, widely scattered from Zhejiang Province in the south to Heilongjiang Province in the north.

| Chemical Weapons and Deterrence: The World War II Experience
John Ellis van Courtland Moon (1984)
with citations. |
 
The other thing that is puzzling is why given Hitlers view of the Russian and Slavic races is why he didn't deploy chemical weapons during the invasion and subsequently during the retreat. Was it due to his experiences during WW1?
There were a variety of reasons, but one of them is likely that the style of warfare in WWII was very different than in WWI, with rapid movements over long distances instead of concentrations of troops spending months in one spot trying to break through static lines. As a result there were fewer occasions where chemical weapons would have made a decisive difference and where you didn't want to subsequently make use of that location yourself.

That doesn't mean there weren't any occasions where chemical weapons would have been useful, just that they weren't seen as a war winning weapon under those circumstances. If they were seen as giving a decisive advantage, then they likely would have been used regardless of the threat of retaliation.

Of course chemical toxins were used in a limited way under controlled conditions by the Germans, to liquidate large numbers of "undesirables" in concentration camps.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Ultra as an actual source was never revealed to Stalin at this time. The information was always couched in other terms to hide source - the fact that BP was home to a slack handful of commie agents/fan bois so the Stavka was getting info of some sort. Which doesn't necessarily mean they got raw info from BP assets as the compartmentalisation at BP was legendary.
Thanks....watching the 'The Imitation Game*' this evening I wondered again about the hard decisions that Ultra required.

Throughout the occupation of Holland, the German Abwehr were seemingly able to convince SOE that they were running a strong network of saboteurs and informants in the country.

In reality, as most Arrsers are aware, the Abwehr intercepted and captured almost all the SOE agents who were parachuted in.

They called it ' Das Englandspiel '

Engelandvaarders en het Englandspiel


It occurred to me to wonder whether Ultra decrypted the Abwehr reports back to Berlin - but were unable to warn SOE without disclosing that Enigma had been broken ? Hard call....

A palace of mirrors the spy game.....









* yes I know....Hollywood unreality ....yes Benedict Climberspout...politically correct retrospective....yes, I get it |FFS....
 
It occurred to me to wonder whether Ultra decrypted the Abwehr reports back to Berlin - but were unable to warn SOE without disclosing that Enigma had been broken ? Hard call....
I believe they had to have a cover story for each Enigma decrypt they passed on. Absent such a cover story they had rather keep the information to themselves.
 
Even if the Heer and the Luftwaffe, who were the main offenders, had just tightened up the way they used Enigma, this could have caused real problems. Their signals people, being human beings and often lazy ones at that, would often not bother using random letters to start the machine's settings, they'd use some three letter combo familiar to them, such as their own or their wife's/girlfriend's initials (from this practice arose one of Bletchley Park's terms of art, the Cillie, from CIL, the initials one such sluggard used every time.)

By contrast Doenitz's Kriegsmarine was far stricter, he insisted on the use of trigrams (three letter combos that were as close to being randomly generated as could be done) which were issued in monthly lists. Later the German Navy added a fourth rotor and it took some time for the Allies to break back into the cipher. Hitler himself mistrusted Enigma and insisted on a personal machine cipher, Lorenz, which was based on teleprinter or Baudot code, and this too, proved hard to crack, although it was finally done. The Allies were justifiably paranoid about the Axis making any changes, let alone the adoption of a completely different system.
 
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(Off topic but relevant I think)

Some of the Soviet propaganda must have been quite effective, it being based on the known "Defects of character," of the German leadership. From an illustrated leaflet quoted by Hans Heinz Reifeldt in his Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front, vol II:


Der deutsche Soldat hat es gut ...

Hitler denkt für ihn, Goering ißt für ihn, Ley trinkt für ihn, Goebbels spricht für ihn, Himmler sorgt dafür, daß seine Frau nicht kinderlos bleibt.

Ihm selbst bleibt nicht übrig, als an der Front zugrunde zu gehen.

Herr Google renders that as:

"The German soldier's got it good:

Hitler thinks for him, Goering eats for him, [Dr] Ley drinks for him (Ley was known to be a notorious drunkard) Goebbels speaks for him, [and] Himmler makes sure his wife doesn't remain childless. (A dig in the ribs about the policy of Lebensborn.)

He himself has no choice but to perish at the Front."
 
If memory serves me right, the T-34's turret was a casting which they didn't machine on the outside - and only on the inside where fittings had to go. It was a philosophy the Russians applied to most of their weapons - they'd only last a short time before being destroyed/lost/beyond repair, so don't waste time giving then a nice finish.

The Germans did the reverse. When Milch finally got his hands on aircraft production, one of the first things he did was stop them putting beautifully hand-stitched leather seats in aircraft, replacing them with cheaper mass produced alternatives. Then he set about simplifying and standardising aircraft production. The Ju 88 used some 4,000 different sizes of bolt; each the precise size for the location it was in. Milch simplified that to a few hundred. A 25 mm long bolt will do the same job as a 20 mm long one, as long as the extra length doesn't foul anything.

Although the Germans ramped up their production in the closing years of the war, it was stupidity like hand stitched leather seats and multiplicities of bolt sizes that let the Russians greatly outproduce them in the middle years of the war.

Wordsmith

German armoured vehicles were fitted with a standardised design of beautifully designed height, reach and rake adjustable and folding seats made of steel tubes with a sprung back and seat with leather cushions and a stove Enamelled finish. Superb bit of design, took a week to make And cost a fortune.

allied armoured vehicles and tanks? Seating was ‘functional’, often nothing more than a fold up steel plate.
 
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