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Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad

 
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Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 6:00:14 AM   
Tarhunnas


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In the Game, it is much easier for the Germans to convert the railroads in the Batic States than elsewhere. However, historically less than a third (roughly 2000 km out of 7000 km) of the railways in the Baltic states were standard gauge, and all the trunk lines were broad gauge (the railways were built during the Russian empire, and most were not converted during the 20 years of Baltic independence (still are not BTW)). There were also a lot of minor narrow gauge lines. So I believe there is little ground for the increased railway conversion rates in the Baltics in the game.

While the increased railway conversion rate in the Baltics can surely not be the only or even main cause of the frequent early fall of Leningrad, it certainly helps some. So, I suggest, simply skip the railway conversion bonus for the Germans in the Baltics, as that has flimsy historical grounds anyway.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 8:05:36 AM   
glvaca

 

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Schorched Earth from GRD had only a limit amount of the RR lines in Broad guage, the rest were narrow. Don't remember exactly which ones but can look it up.
The point being, the designer there too believed most RR in the Baltic were narrow.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 10:47:02 AM   
Tarhunnas


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It's not only broad or narrow. It is three types, broad Russian, normal standard European gauge or narrow gauge. Many branch lines in the Baltics (as well as in many other coutries) were narrow gauge and had low capacity and were not easy to integrate into the German military railroad system, for the same reasons as the broad gauge, separate engines and rolling stock etc. About a third of the railroads in the Baltics were narrow gauge, so out of  7000 km only about 2000 were standard European gauge. Of  the rest about half was broad and half narrow.

Comparatively easy progress of German railroad conversion in the Baltics is often alluded to and used in games, but I suspect it is one of those often repeated truths that don't appear to hold up when you look at it more closely. Compare the dates of rail conversion. For example, at the end of August, the railhead in the Baltics was at Luga, but at the same time it reached Smolensk in AGC, and that is almost exactly the same distance!

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 12:21:12 PM   
carlkay58

 

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Going from the GRD Europa games the main rail line to Riga and then to Talinin was easily converted and there were two others, I would have to dig it all out again. I have the Total War (the new remake of FitE) stuff somewhere too that changed a few of the lists, but less than 20% of the rail was easily converted in that game.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 6:44:12 PM   
Joel Billings


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Thanks in part to help from the civilian population, the trains were running very quickly in the Baltics. I was able to get from the web info on when the first supply trains were getting to Porkov and although I don't remember the date, it was incredibly fast. First train isn't everything, but along with the other info on the site I was reading I came to believe the rule was justified.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 9:01:41 PM   
glvaca

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58

Going from the GRD Europa games the main rail line to Riga and then to Talinin was easily converted and there were two others, I would have to dig it all out again. I have the Total War (the new remake of FitE) stuff somewhere too that changed a few of the lists, but less than 20% of the rail was easily converted in that game.



I just opened my old copy of JET ( electornic pbem aid for SE) and it's the other way around. All RR are narrow except the line running from Riga to Velikiye Luki.

Maybe it's changed in total war, but that's the way it is in SE.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 10:33:23 PM   
Tarhunnas


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Once again, it is not just narrow or broad, it is three categories! Narrow, normal and wide.

quote:

With the incorporation of the Baltic States in to the Soviet Union in 1940, approximately 7.000 km (4.500 miles) of rail lines were added to the Soviet rail network. Of those 7.000 km (4.500 miles), approximately 2.900 km (1.900 miles) were wide gauge (1.524mm), 2.000 km (1.300 miles) were standard gauge (1.435mm) and 2.100 km (1.400 miles) were narrow gauge lines.


Source: http://www.feldgrau.com/articles.php?ID=9

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/22/2012 11:35:43 PM   
glvaca

 

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I hear you
Just stating how it is in SE.
Perhaps it's wrong, I'm not informed enough on how difficult it was to go from standard to narrow. Perhaps they captured enough rolling stock to keep the rail roads running pretty quickly and this is an abstraction?
Perhaps it was pretty easy to convert narrow to standard (or the other way around, whatever was needed).

Just saying...

< Message edited by glvaca -- 5/22/2012 11:36:35 PM >

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/23/2012 5:28:29 PM   
Tarhunnas


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Narrow gauge railroads are generally hard to convert to normal gauge. They are built for smaller trains, lighter loads and lower speeds. It would usually entail compelte reconstruction. Not only is the track itself and the sleepers too narrow, curves are usually too tight, and bridges and ballast not made for heavier trains.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/24/2012 12:49:32 AM   
carlkay58

 

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The biggest speed enhancer on the Baltic rails was the quality of the railbed, the placement of the water towers, and the distance between stations. In each of these three areas the Baltic rails were much closer to the German (or Western European) standards than the Soviet standards.

One of the most time consuming portions of converting the rails from one gauge to the other was the infrastructure of water towers and stations. The European engines required more frequent restocking of water than their Soviet counterparts.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/24/2012 5:55:01 AM   
Tarhunnas


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Yes, and I have read all that too. How come then, that at the end of August, the railhead in the Baltic region was at Luga and the one in AGC was at Smolensk, almost exactly the same distance? It is after all the end result that counts! Admittedly pure distance doesn't say all, there might have been differences in capacity, but still.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/24/2012 4:41:56 PM   
Panzer Meyer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tarhunnas

Yes, and I have read all that too. How come then, that at the end of August, the railhead in the Baltic region was at Luga and the one in AGC was at Smolensk, almost exactly the same distance? It is after all the end result that counts! Admittedly pure distance doesn't say all, there might have been differences in capacity, but still.

I would hazard a guess that the German's put significantly more resources into AGC rail conversion because this was the point of main emphasis in their attack on Russia.

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/24/2012 6:38:49 PM   
Tarhunnas


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At Kanuas Railroad station, 22 June 1941:

- Sergeant Ivanov, the task of your squad is to make the railroad unusable to the enemy!
- Yes, Comrade Lieutenant!
- The enemy will be here in an hour, and we have almost no explosives. Can you manage that?
- Yes, Comrade Lieutenant, we can do it in half that time!
- Half that time? How would you do that?
- It's easy Comrade Lieutenant! We burn all the tickets!

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/25/2012 7:22:48 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

I would hazard a guess that the German's put significantly more resources into AGC rail conversion because this was the point of main emphasis in their attack on Russia.


Also, maybe the Germans planned to rely on the Baltic ports for some supply needs rather than bringing everything via rail from the Reich?

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RE: Baltic rail gauges and the fall of Leningrad - 5/25/2012 9:10:54 PM   
carlkay58

 

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Actually more of the rail effort was in AGS according to the stuff I have seen. Mainly because Germany needed the food from the Ukraine so badly - they were already expecting a shortfall of food in Germany and occupied France by Nov. of 1941 - but a great crop in the summer made it actually be a surplus with the stuff 'liberated' in the Ukraine. But the emphasis of rail conversion was in the Ukraine to aid in transporting the food supplies back to Germany. Something along the lines of 72% of converted rails were south of the Pripet Marshes according to one German source - I will try and track it down but all of the research for it is still boxed away somewhere in storage.

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