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|WorldWar2.ro Forum > WW2 in General > Was the Soviet Union beatable?|
|Posted by: C-2 December 16, 2004 07:51 pm|
| What I never undestood was how did the Germans were convinced that they could win a war against the soviets!
For years they had been making tanks exercices in Ukraine...
The must knew how muddy was the spring and how cold was the winter,
Not to talk again about the distances!
|Posted by: dragos December 16, 2004 08:00 pm|
|Maybe there was a belief that they could undermine the Soviet political authority and then the entire country would collapse, like in the First World War.|
|Posted by: Benoit Douville December 16, 2004 08:54 pm|
| It was the objective of the Germans to beat the Soviet Union in 1941. After the Battle of Moscow, it was clear that the War was lost on the Eastern Front even if they have gain a lot of territory with the 1942 summer offensive.
|Posted by: Iamandi December 17, 2004 06:46 am|
Excluding Luftwaffe, the problem with no radio on the russian tanks, poor quality of russian tankists... Tank-to-tank duels is not so easy to be a victory for germans - against 45 m.m. russian tank guns.
|Posted by: Florin December 17, 2004 08:02 pm|
On my behalf, I never understood why the Germans wasted their limited resources by keeping pressing Stalingrad. They already had artillery units at the shore of Volga, which successfully cut the traffic on the river. Conquering Stalingrad had no practical use.
And meanwhile the troops in Caucasus Mountains (my grandfather among them) had within their grasp the rich oil fields of Baku, but they lacked the resourses to conquer them. I am sure that the energy wasted at Stalingrad could turn the tide in Caucasus, if used there.
And with that Germany could get oil resources bigger than the Romanian ones, and much more important, right near frontline, and not thousands of kilometers away, like from Romania!
And Iran was a friendly state (friendly regarding Germany). Turkey, also, could change attitude once they would not see the Russians at their border.
So, briefly, the 3 worst mistakes ever made by the German leadership were:
1. Not sending tens of divisions in North Africa, in 1940, to wipe out the British up to the Indian Ocean, with the possibility of getting the Arabian petroleum. Instead of finishing with Great Britain, Germany created a new enemy by invading the neutral Soviet Union.
2. Not channeling resources toward Caucas Mountains in 1942. They wasted them instead at Stalingrad.
3. Not giving high priority to the project to create an atomic bomb, a target in their grasp even since September 1939, when a German commission concluded it is possible to obtain it. The leadership decided in September 1939 that is too much to spend the requested 24 million Reichmarks for the project, an amount which was about 2 percent from the American expenses. The atomic bomb matter is arguable, because it seems that one of Heisenberg's formulas stated that a Uranium core with 65 centimeter radius is needed. It was a mathematical mistake suggesting a core of uranium weighting 13 tons!
The Japanese also did their huge mistake when in addition to the British and Dutch colonies they attacked the neutral United States! Previously they were threatened with economic sanctions, indeed, but these would become pointless after conquering the rich British and Dutch colonies.
Arguably, the last moment when the war could be won was on June 6, 1944. But for sure the biggest and most clear chance was lost around the Caucasus Mountains, and in Transcaucasia in general.
So, regarding the original post of C-2, I would say that yes, there were some chances to win over that mess started on June 22, 1941.
|Posted by: C-2 December 17, 2004 10:57 pm|
| The Caukas wasn't a joy ride.
Rostok was taken and lost and the 4-th Panzer army could be cut off if the Volga Front wasn't secure.
Lets go back to the topic.
American army cannot hold on Irak with 21-th cent.tehnology.Irak is a fraction from the SU,and the climate is more then ideal for a campain.
|Posted by: Victor December 17, 2004 11:07 pm|
You mean 1st Panzer Army. The 4th Panzer Army was at Stalingrad.
|Posted by: Florin December 18, 2004 12:04 am|
OK, back to the topic...
So let us forget about Iraq and the U.S. Army with its 21st century weaponry.
During summer, the land is dry in the European side of the former Soviet Union.
This allowed fast advances of motorized units.
Considering that when the rains started in September, the German Army was not so far from Moskow, and had already encircled about 1 million Russians in the South, we have to remember that the original plan was to start Barbarossa in May 1941.
That one month delay, due to all that involvement in Operation "Maritza", proved to be essential in making the German army unable to defeat Soviet Union before the rain falls of September, or, if you like more, before the winter.
Anyway, this topic has a good point in being started. Hitler was always a gambler, and he succeeded at least 3 times before against all odds: once at Munchen, when he obtained even more than he hoped for in those negotiations with Chamberlain and Daladier. Then in the invasion of Norway, when Germany conquered that country even though the sea was controlled by the Allied fleet. Then in the invasion of Holland - Belgium - France.
I would say that the previous successes made the German leadership to lose the grasp with the reality. The spying activity of Germany regarding the strength of Soviet Union was very poor. They were confident that once they will invade, the common Russian folk would revolt against the system. They neglected the tightness of the Bolshevik control over all levels of the Soviet society. That Bolshevik system never collapsed, to the contrary of the German expectations.
I think this "anti-Communist" revolution, from inside the Soviet society, was the biggest dream of the Nazi leadership. And it was the illusion which eventually cost the Nazi regime everything. What I wrote in this last paragraph are not my own ideas, as you know.
Also we should not forget that Stalin asked for peace negotiations at least twice, in 1941...1942. He would be ready to accept very bad conditions for Soviet Union.
|Posted by: C-2 December 18, 2004 07:30 am|
Actualy the 4-th panzer army was stripped from most of her efectives and armor and sent to the direction of Rostok and the oil fields.
Only a very small part of the 4-th PA were encircled at Stalingrad.
|Posted by: Victor December 18, 2004 07:30 am|
|The anti-Comunist revolt did not exist also because of the way Germany acted in the occupied territories in the East. Probably a different attitude towards the locals, especialy in the Ukraine, would have paid up.|
|Posted by: C-2 December 18, 2004 07:41 am|
The Wermaht started the Russian campain as their former "colegs"from "The Grand Armee" of Napoleon-ON FOOT and by HORSES.
The motoraised units were very few.
You understand-Steyer,Mercedes and Opel are not Ford GM and Chrisler,
If you saw the last episode of Brothers in Arms.......
Do you have any Idea how does it tahes today,by a modern train to go from Bucharest to Moskow?
And from Moskow to Iakutsk for example?
The German suplies line were to strached for Leningrad and Moskow.Stalingrad was totaly out of reach.
The Russians were distroing the ultrastructure they had ,and no roads or rail roads were left.
And don't forget the important fact that the Russian railroad if diferent by dimentions to the "rest of the world"-a very complicated procedure even today, of changing all the train wheels-on a special disaigned train.Either the Germans change all Soviet Union rail road sistem ,ar loose enormos amount of time by changing wheels at the borders.
|Posted by: Victor December 18, 2004 08:07 am|
Army Group A (which had the task of taking the Caucasus) was made up from the 1st Panzer Army and the 17th Army. The Romanian 3rd Army command had been moved to Stalingrad from the Caucasus in September 42.
Army Group B (which was fighting around Stalingrad) was made up of the 6th Army, the 4th Panzer Army, the 3rd and 4th Romanian Armies, the 8th Italian Army and the 2nd Hungarian Army.
These were two totally different panzer armies engaged on two different directions.
|Posted by: C-2 December 18, 2004 09:41 pm|
| Read my post again.
Evry child knows that at Stalingrad the 6-th army,Hitler largest ,was encircled.
The 4-th PA was sent south toward the oilfields.
If you want to put it this way,in Stalingrad were encircled also Romanians Italians Kroatians and even Russian volunters.If there were a few guys from the 4-th that's all right by me
|Posted by: Victor December 18, 2004 09:57 pm|
I think you are the one who should reread the previous posts. I never said that the 4th Panzer Army was encircled at Stalingrad (only one of its corps - the 4th Corps of general Erwin Jaenecke, the later CO of the 17th Army in Crimea - was caught in the encirclement by the way, hardly "a few guys"). I just said that it was part of Army Group B, deployed in the Stalingrad area and had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign in the Caucasus, where the 1st Panzer Army was located. The fighting went on at Stalingrad for several months before Operation Uranus commenced.
|Posted by: C-2 December 18, 2004 10:38 pm|
| So we undestand eah other...
Most of the 4-th PA wasn't in Stalingrad.
|Posted by: Victor December 18, 2004 10:57 pm|
No, because I don't actually see why you are debating, besides avoiding the inevitable of admitting you were wrong about the 4th Panzer Army being in the Caucasus.
|Posted by: Chandernagore December 18, 2004 11:53 pm|
| The whole idea of winning a war against the Soviet Union was an ideological misconception from the Fuhrer. The idea (heavily tainted with racial undertones) that the whole soviet society was a decaying body ripe for cleansing, that it was enough " to kick in the front door and the whole rotten edifice would come tumbling down".
Well it did, but on his own head
The Soviet Union was not invincible but SU + the need to garrison Europe + 2nd front would have been too much for anybody.
|Posted by: C-2 December 19, 2004 10:35 pm|
OK when will meet ,I'll give you a video cas.with the 4-th PA at Rostok .
|Posted by: Victor December 20, 2004 07:16 am|
| Rostov (not Rostok) on Don is not the Caucasus and there are no oil fields there. In the aftermath of the failure of Operation Wintergewitter (the drive towards the 6th Army encircled in Stalingrad) the 4th Panzer Army fell back, protecting Rostov so that the 1st Panzer Army could retreat from the Caucasus.
My advice: do some reading on the subject, don't watch movies.
|Posted by: Iamandi December 20, 2004 08:19 am|
| I read with pleasure a lot of writings about this subject. But, none with a realistic ideeas and not with a clear/total victory. Majority of posts and writings form forums, or dedicated sites had concentrate the words just in jokes, "no chance" and variations, underlining mistakes of germans, etc. No real solutions.
What is your ideeas for solutions to beat Soviet Union?
|Posted by: Victor December 25, 2004 09:59 am|
| Was the Soviet Union beatable?
In my opinion: yes it was. The key was the capture of Moscow.
Moscow was the main transportation hub of the Soviet Union. Without it there was no possibility for the Stavka to shift reserves and supplies from one province to another. The primitive infrastructure may have hampered German advance, but the same was true for the Red Army, which also needed to use it in order to carry out the fighting. Going for the Soviet economy was a bad move, as the Allies saw it several years later. Factories and workers could be moved, hidden below ground etc. Denying the enemy possibility to move behind his lines, paralyzing him was more deadly.
To defend Moscow, Stavka would have committed all its reserves and thus the Wehrmacht could have succeeded in fulfilling its main objective in 1941: physically destroying the Red Army, despite the massive force generation capabilities the Soviet Union has shown.
|Posted by: C-2 December 25, 2004 06:51 pm|
| Napoleon captured Moskow
It didn't make him beat Russia
|Posted by: Victor December 25, 2004 07:38 pm|
That is a much oversimplified way to look at things. You cannot compare early 19th century warfare with WW2. It's like comparing apples with oranges.
First, armies weren't as dependant on the modern infrastructure as they were in the 1940s and the Russian army could very well operate east of Moscow.
Second, there was no continuos front, no permanent contact with the enemy and no way to force the Russians to stand and fight.
Last but not least, Moscow wasn't the capital of the Russian Empire then. St. Petersburg was.
Can you come up with actual solid arguments?
|Posted by: C-2 December 25, 2004 09:54 pm|
| Sorry Victor,but like I already wrote;no much of a diference between the Wermaht and "Le Grand Armee".=bouth were on foot and on horse back.
The distances are the same,the weather the same,and same as the French army,the Germans were at the end of a very uncertain supply line.
From logistic point of view,even today,in a conventional war,it will be imposible.
Even after passing the Volga,then the Germans would find themself in front of a more uncivilized and more unhospitable Russia .The people they'd meet (Checens,Abhazians,Georgians,Sibirians,Kazaks and many others)were much taugher then the Ukrainians and Beilorussians....
About the infrastructure,I don't see any dif.Mot much of autobahns no petrol stations,like in France,so the tanks would fill their empty reservoires.
But look again on a map.Even if the Japaneese had attaked -they would have to pass Siberia first
|Posted by: Victor December 25, 2004 10:30 pm|
Saying that there is no difference between La Grande Armee and the Wehrmacht is, as I said, an oversimplification of facts. Napoleon did not have tanks and trucks, nor did he have trains. Most of the successes during the 1941 campaign were dued to the deep penetration operations of the four fuly-motorized panzer groups.
Despite the very long supply lines, the weather, the bitter Soviet resistance, the Germans almost made it to Moscow. If it could be done in those conditions, than an earlier offensive had serious chances of success. You can also look at the situation from another point of view. The Germans might have had long supply line, but with Moscow taken or encircled, the Soviets would have no supply lines.
The main infrastructure I am referring to are the railroads as that is how troops and supplies were moved around behind the front.
There was no need to go east of the Volga River, as without Moscow, the Soviet operational potential would drop
|Posted by: bebe December 31, 2004 06:57 am|
| i think the german strategy was not very briliante from the begining,based on their
rong view over the SU army,morale,leaders,industry,resilience & their own overconfidence.I am sure that if the germans analized the entire situation corect and realistic FROM the BEGINING,and not delayed the barbarossa operation from may to june,they would have conquered russia.
|Posted by: Imperialist March 12, 2005 11:11 pm|
First it was dangerous to go into the Caucasus without taking Stalingrad.
From what I know Mackensen's 1st Panzer Army penetrated the Caucasus but after the fall of Stalingrad was in danger of being cut-off there.
Thats a Gargantuan proposition... the Indian Ocean! Sorry, but its military science fiction.
As for the Soviet Union, its mere existence made its neutrality a mere temporary arrangement. Germany was inferior in the air and on the sea but temporarily superior on the land. One choice would have been to try to build up air and sea forces for an amphibious landing in Britain. However that would have meant time, time in which the Russians would have increased their forces at least numerically if not qualitatively too (after observing the German armor and Blitzkrieg tactics in Europe) while the RAF and AAF would have increased their forces in Britain too.
An arms race with the US at that level of German resources was impossible without increasing German dependency on Russian supplies, with immense consequences.
The other choice -- exploit their current superiority on land and take out from the equation the USSR while simultaneously bringing much needed supplies to build up against Britain and the US.
In my view the ONLY reasonable choice. Apart from not starting the war altogether, ofcourse.
US opposed from the start the Japanese conquest of Indochina. The Japanese knew that war with the US was inevitable. Once again, they needed time to build-up forces and USE the resources gained from the former european colonies.
Time meant taking out the US Navy.
Once again, the ONLY reasonable choice after the war logic prevailed.
At most postponed, not won. The end was inevitable.
|Posted by: mabadesc March 13, 2005 09:45 am|
Indeed. Stalin was so decided to protect Moscow at any cost that he refused to transfer the Politburo, if I'm not mistaken. He also refused to leave the city himself.
If I remember correctly from one of his biographies, he ordered that the November parade be staged and filmed indoors (but made to look as if it had been filmed outdoors) to show the world that Moscow was safe and sound.
In reality, the real parade was quite short and desolate, as the Germans bombed the city center on that particular day.
|Posted by: Chandernagore May 25, 2005 02:10 pm|
| I used to play a rather huge and complex simulation on the 41 assault on Moscow. It was full of interesting considerations. It was pretty evident that the German chances to succeed in the existing logistical conditions were very low. In fact they never breached the outer ring of the city defenses "en masse". The failure to take Tula doomed Guderian's right hook from a supply point of vue. The left pincer was more dangerous but run directly into the flow of Soviet reserves. The central forces remainded adamantly inactive (supply again) which allowed the Soviets to shift forces to the lateral threats.
All German mechanized formation were depleted in tanks to some degree. And everybody knows of the effects of very low temperature effect on moral and material. The book written by Werner Haupt is full of statements like "oh we progressed incredibly far but then, bingo , -40 °C - shit ! " But this just seems to increase the feeling that the offensive was badly thought out and the Germans would have been better advised to just do dig in and wait for spring time.
The Soviets weren't yet in such a bad shape that they could not parade troops in the capital. Air attack appears to have been the only real danger. even that was not very likely in the existing weather conditions.
|Posted by: 88mm May 26, 2005 08:50 am|
|For me Land Doctrine it's not enough to win a war. Even if the all primises are met there still is something that would gone wrong. The Wermarcht wasn't nor the Mongol Army, nor under the command of Alexander the Great. The comparison shouldn't even been made, but it demonstrates that since then no army could rely only on a massive land army. Time and tehnology has changed. The Caucasus was for example (in my opinion) more reachable from the Black Sea. Imagine that . Germany never realy realied on it's alies. So even if they would hve conquerd all European Russia, they whould find themseves in the same position that Sweeden had when they waged war against Russia. Not enough man power to control it (South Africa made it wery well, but in diferent times, diferent means and with a lot of help from outside. Was SU beatable? Only in the right circumstancess, and I can not see any of this circ. met at any time in the Russian campaign.|
|Posted by: Iamandi May 26, 2005 09:04 am|
| In present days is like then?
Soviet Union/Russia was not 100 % defeat, but now? They don't have a good economy, but when they had a good one? Etc.... Etc.... Etc.....
It have SU/Russia a desinity like no other country of the world?
|Posted by: Victor May 26, 2005 11:06 am|
|Let's stick to WW2 realated discussions in this section.|
|Posted by: Jeff_S May 26, 2005 04:55 pm|
Are you suggesting that if the Germans did not win in 1941 (or winter 41-42), then they would lose?
Personally I consider 1942 to be the more decisive year, and the last time Germany could have won.
BTW, what was the game?
|Posted by: Chandernagore May 26, 2005 08:23 pm|
| The game was Operation Typhoon (SPI) a 3 map monster with 800 pieces at regiment/battalion level.
I think the Germans shot their bolt in 41. I don't believe that even a succesfull Stalingrad campaign in 42 could have kicked Russia out of the war. Sure it could have helped drag the war a few years more, who knows. But a single army group sized offensive had no chance of forcing a surrender with lend lease in full effect. Also too much of the Soviet production capablity was already safe in the Urals.
|Posted by: Jeff_S May 26, 2005 09:16 pm|
I remember Operation Typhoon. I never owned it or played it, but I do remember being in SPI's office in New York when it was being play-tested. My first-edition War in the East (4 maps, 2000 pieces) is still sitting in the back of a closet at home. I don't know if it will see daylight again -- I don't even know where I would set up the map. My parent's ping-pong table didn't see much actual ping-pong playing, but it was great for wargaming.
Agree with you about Stalingrad. Another Russian city reduced to rubble and captured -- so what? I guess this answers whether or not you think the effort expended at Stalingrad could have been decisive if applied to a push for Baku and the Caucasus. I don't have strong feelings about this myself, but I tend to be suspicious of the "strategic materials" theorists. Somehow the other side always finds a way to keep fighting. It reminds me too much of the thinking that led to the US raids on Schweinfurt and Ploesti. Certainly the US submarine campaign against Japan had the effect of strangling Japan for oil (among other things) but that was an attack against a whole transport network, not just one target.
|Posted by: Chandernagore May 26, 2005 10:01 pm|
Yes, a too often overlooked example of sucessfull submarine warfare campaign. Well, perhaps the only one we have. Started lately but gathered incredible momentum in face of insufficiently equipped and traind ASW forces.
Did you ever play that "War in the east" wargame ? I decided to pass on that one : I didn't have the ping pong table
|Posted by: Jeff_S May 27, 2005 03:30 pm|
I agree. It's certainly overlooked in the US, even by followers of military history. The carrier war, the B-29s, and the Marines get the glory, but the submarines made an incredible contribution. I remember my father had a reference book on the Japanese WW2 navy, which listed all the classes of ships, their characteristics, and the names and details of each ship in the class. Looking at the "fate" column was really a revelation... so many of them began: "Sunk by submarine USS something-fish...". And this did not even cover the merchant shipping lost.
I never played the full 1941-45 campaign game, but I did start it several times. I also played each of the 1-year scenarios at least once. The mechanics of the game were quite simple, it was just so big.
One thing I remember disliking was how much of the Russian and German combat effectiveness was built into the combat results tables. There were 4 of them (I forget which was highest and which was lowest, it doesn't really matter). The Germans started attacking using the most effective in 1941, then went down each year until they were on the lowest in 44-45 (I think). For the Russians it was the reverse -- they improved each year. Also the weather affected which table you used... I think the Germans were on the lowest table during mud and snow weeks, while the Russians one of the better tables. The effect of all this was that you had long stretches of time where you could not attack at all. You just had to sit and get punished. Attacks that would look very viable (for example, 3 Russian tank corps attacking 1 German infantry division in open terrain in summer 1942) would go nowhere
But there were some things I liked about the game too:
-- the railroad repair units really forced the German player to think about where he wanted to focus his attacks, and made it hard to shift because you would outrun your supplies
-- I love games where I get to choose what type of units to build, and War in the East had this for the Russians (the German units just appeared)
-- the Russian infantry divisions could fortify themselves, which increased the defense value of one other Russian unit in the space. This forced the Germans into the dilemma they faced historically -- you want to take some time to prepare your offensive, but if the Russians are fortifying, this can be a big mistake. But the Russians had to make decisions too -- are you expecting an infantry attack? Better to fortify an infantry corps (regular or guards) Are you expecting a panzer attack? Better to have an antitank brigade.
-- the campaign game had some cool options, such as "Better German Treatment of the Ukraine" which allowed the Germans to raise infantry divisions (10-15) from anti-Communist Ukrainians
|Posted by: Chandernagore May 29, 2005 02:42 am|
| Thats's great Jeff ! I drool with envy I always wondered if people really played those titan games with 2000+ pieces. I agree with you about production schedules that's one of the most fun parts because you really feel in command.
Biggest simulation I ever played was Pacific War from VG. I'm an absolute fan of Pacic war simulations because they present the greatest challenge you can dream with the complex integration of ground, naval and air warfare.
|Posted by: Indrid May 29, 2005 04:22 am|
|...boys and toys.....|
|Posted by: Victor May 29, 2005 05:21 am|
|Let's get back to the original topic. There is already a thread dedicated to war games. You can continue the discussion there.|
|Posted by: Iamandi May 31, 2005 10:27 am|
| Maybe more action bombing against supply lines of Red Army can change this "happy end"?
|Posted by: Indrid May 31, 2005 10:29 am|
|well, considering the fact that those lines go back more than 2000 miles....hard to bomb that....|
|Posted by: Iamandi May 31, 2005 10:33 am|
No. Not so far. Those lines are at an end at far distance, but they came near the front line for supplyng troops. So, i reffer at an more tactical action, not to a strategical one.
More action against supply lines, tactical.
|Posted by: Alexandru H. May 31, 2005 10:57 am|
| What you ask of Hitler, Iama, is quite over his power of reasoning. A man that loves his big guns, big projects and big defeats would never go for something as trivial as supply line attack...
Offtopic: I am currently engaging in a War in the Pacific mega campaign with Japan and I would say it's one heck of a warsimulation. If it wasn't for the AI sometimes ineffectual behaviour, I might have thought myself of being in the game myself
|Posted by: Iamandi May 31, 2005 11:07 am|
| What is the name of that game?
Hitler spend his chances to conquer the world on his hand...
|Posted by: Alexandru H. May 31, 2005 11:14 am|
| Grisby's War in the Pacific
What murdered his chances was the ineffective production rates of Germany. Maybe for the first time in history an eastern european country beat Germany at its game: economics.
|Posted by: dragos June 01, 2005 07:25 am|
|Several off-topic posts were deleted.|
|Posted by: Tavi May 26, 2006 07:21 am|
| (off topic)
Hello guys, congratulations for the great site, keep up the good work.
In my opinion the Soviet Union was beatable.
If Hitler had the plan to send troops through Finland and attacked from there on the direction Leningrad-Moscow, i think he could cut SU in two by going further south.
Combined with an offensive from the west he could trap almost the whole soviet army.
Only those 40 siberian divisions left from Stalin to guard the manchurian frontier from the japanese will be left.
What do you say?
|Posted by: Imperialist May 26, 2006 09:26 am|
No, in WWI Russia already had a strong (at least ideologically) movement that opposed the Czar and its involvement in the War, while in WWII most if not all of Stalin's opponents were already dead and the germans didnt even try to portray their war as an Operation Russian Freedom.
|Posted by: Imperialist May 26, 2006 09:28 am|
That oil would need refineries, and the closest refineries were in Romania I think.
|Posted by: Chutzpah June 02, 2006 11:45 pm|
|Plus the Caucasus drive never got anywhere, really. Spectacular but undermanned, underfunded, undersupplied. Ended in uber failure.|
|Posted by: Helmut Von Moltke August 27, 2006 11:47 am|
| Germany could have won the war if Heeresgruppe Mitte drove straight along the Moscow highway in the first few weeks of the war directly to Moscow and captured it. Then there would be time for Guderian and Bock's Panzers to turn on Leningrad and Stalingrad and Rostov. However Hitler was stupid and splattered the Panzer divisions all over the place right after the first 2 weeks when Heeresgruppe Mitte was already halfway to Moscow and completed the Minsk and Smolensk encirclments.
|Posted by: Der Maresal August 28, 2006 11:46 pm|
| The way I see it, Germany was strong enough to beat any country, including the USSR. But not all at the same time -
They taught that if they dont attack first, they will all jump on them..
Which ended up happening anyways...
Which brings us to my theory: WW2 whould have occured no matter who attacked first.
Hitler can only be blaimed for loosing the war. That's ALL he can be blaimed for -
not for trying or ""starting"" it.
There are those who tried, won.. and as winners never had to answer questions
|Posted by: MMM June 17, 2009 12:01 pm|
| There's a really interesting book called "Hitler Options", by a British professor, Kenneth Macksey. In it, there are a number of theories of "counter-factual history"; one of them is really interesting and believable: all 4 Panzer-Gruppen were concentrated in august in an iron fist which stroke in the center sector of the front, then drove north to Vladimir. All that in the back of the remaining Russian frontline, supplied only by Luftwaffe. Seems so daring, but also possible...
Of course, the whole "story" is longer than 30 pages and with many details.
|Posted by: dragos June 17, 2009 01:05 pm|
|An army this size can never be supplied by air alone. At Stalingrad the 6th Army required 500 tons of supplies daily while Luftwaffe could deliver an average of 117 tons a day. And four panzer armies would require a lot more than the 6th Army.|
|Posted by: MMM June 17, 2009 03:23 pm|
| But also the Luftwaffe of summer 1941 was stronger than 1942/43. Also, the author assumes that only the mobile parts of the armoured divisions would have participated; plus, the supplies would be just fuel and ammo, less food
However, as I said, it is counter-factual history. Nothing could have stopped the rest of the Red Army to mount a counter-attack in the "tankless" sectors of the front.
I am also unsure about Moscow's importance as a knot of communications, other than railways... After all, let's remember how many factories were "translated" eastward with success!
I'll get back with more details of the book if you think necessary.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 June 19, 2009 05:13 pm|
Well, few things are more compelling than counterfactual history, imo! That book sounds interesting indeed! (I found it on Google, np).
Another book I love in that genre: What If? (Robert Crowley, ed. Putnam, 1999) has the great military historian Robert Keegan outlining "How Hitler Could Have Won the War; The Drive for the Middle East, 1941"
Keegan gives "what if" Hitler had, in summer 1941 chosen to make his major attack into the mideast instead of Russia! He says capture of the oil fields would have meant victory in the long run for a Reich astride the central route to British India and Russia's southern provinces.
(btw, The Brits knew this of course, and so acted to depose the Shah who had been leaning toward the germans. The outcome of THAT history we see still being played out this week!!!)
But who knows? IMO the Germans would have still been overstretched, and Stalin would not have sat still for long.
|Posted by: MMM June 20, 2009 06:28 am|
| Oh, I've read that book! Quite nice, indeed - and true words you've spoken, Master Yoda: Stalin would have won ww2 anyway, especially with Anglo-American help! The thing (Suvorov wrote it and I partly agree) is that not all the objectives were reached, also due to Germany's first strike!
One thing which I do NOT understand in Suvorov's theory is like that:
Fact 1: There were two very powerful SU armies at the border of Romania, in offfensive didpositive
Fact 2: Romania crossed that border 11 days after the beginning of the conflict
Fact 3: The Soviets could have blown the German-Romanian attack dispositive to pieces by crossing themselves the Pruth river (as Suvorov implies they were preparing for July 6-th)
Question: Why didn't they invade Romania????? It would have been enough to destroy the oil fields for Hitler's war machine to stop!
I quote from this site:
Imagine what would have happened in the opposite situation, with the Soviet Army overruning the 11-th German army and the 3-rd and 4-th Romanian...
|Posted by: Victor June 20, 2009 08:25 am|
Not likely to have happened. The 12th and 9th Armies were in danger of being surrounded inside Bessarabia and their chances of reaching the Ploiesti oilfields were null. The Red Army in 1941 was a far cry from that of 1944 in terms of experience, command abilities, equipment etc.
|Posted by: MMM June 20, 2009 03:36 pm|
How so? That was the initial plan! And I don't think they would have been surrounded! Maybe outflanked a little, from north - but it would have been enough just to destroy the oilfields like in wwI, and eventually to maintain a frontline in the vicinity for as long as necessary to hamper repairing, producing, transporting etc.
True fact that Red Army in 1941 wasn't that good, but the numeric superiority in ALL fields (men, tanks, planes, guns, ships, whatever) must have compensated somehow - as it eventually happened from 1942 onwards...
But that could be another topic
|Posted by: Victor June 20, 2009 04:33 pm|
| Look up Uman pocket or Battle of Uman. And that was with the Red Army being pushed back from the Stalin Army. The bulk of Army Group South swooped southwards and encircled parts of the Southwestern Front. This is why the Southern Front, facing the 4th Romanian Army and parts of the German 11th Army pulled back, in order to avoid being encircled.
The Soviet tank division in Bessarabia were pulled back behind the Dnestr and sent northwards against the advancing Army Group South. This is why the Romanians faced few armored assaults in Bessarabia.
Should the Soviets attempted to attack towards Ploiesti on 22 June, after they woke up from the first wave of bombers, this would have spelled the destruction of yet another 2 Soviet Armies. The 3 Axis armies in Romania had the resources to stop cold a Soviet attack, while von Rundstedt cut off their retreat path. It is as simple as that.
|Posted by: MMM June 20, 2009 06:45 pm|
|Maybe, maybe not. One flank would have remained the Black Sea and then the Danube (Bulgaria wouldn't attack SU). The interesting fact is, IMO, that Romanian bridgeheads captured east of Pruth were not annihilated immediately by the Soviets.|
|Posted by: Victor June 21, 2009 11:27 am|
I fail to see what is the relevance of one flank being the Black Sea and of Bulgaria not attacking the SU. Care to elaborate?
|Posted by: MMM June 21, 2009 11:46 am|
|On the southern flank, the Soviet armies would not be surrounded or even attacked! That was my point... in terms of an attack, one flank would have been safe.|
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 June 21, 2009 09:23 pm|
yeah, well, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Red army was a long way from "attack mode" at the time. Couldn't be, wouldn't be with Stalin in denial and seclusion, and when he came out doing few things to encourage creative thinking among his general staff, unless it involved ways to escape a firing squad (or worse).
The point is, one big reason the Germans were so successful early on was the trained flexibility of their command structure. To expect the ponderous "top down" led Reds to overnight execute a Wehrmacht style operation, your underlying assumption here it seems, is ludicrous, even for a "what if".
|Posted by: MMM June 22, 2009 03:45 pm|
|Well, not really! It seeems there were plans for an occupation of Romania as soon as 1940! Re3garding the "attack mode", the Soviets were NOT prepared for defense, yet they had huge forces next to the "new" fronteers. Why is that? I've also read Suvorov's theory, according to which SU should've attacked on july 6-th, 1941. About creative thinking, let's not forget who was commanding the Soviet armies in Bessarabia in 1940 - Jukov! I guess the name's a reference in itself|
|Posted by: Victor June 22, 2009 04:39 pm|
| We are talking about June 1941, not June 1940. The political and military situation is totally different. What was a sure thing a year before, would have meant certain disaster in 1941.
1. Hungary, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia could no longer take part in a partition of Romania in case of a Soviet attack, hence more than a half of the Romanian military could be concentrated on the Soviet frontier.
2. Germany was attacking the SU on a front spanning for thousands of kilometers and was advancing quickly. The Red Army had its hands full with the Wehrmacht North of the Prypiat Marshes.
3. The German 11th Army was in Moldavia and so was Fliegerkorps IV.
4. The Romanian Army was better equipped and trained than in 1940.
5. The Red Army in Bessarabia did not enjoy a considerable numerical superiority over the Axis.
|Posted by: Imperialist June 22, 2009 04:51 pm|
Where else were they supposed to be?
|Posted by: MMM June 22, 2009 05:49 pm|
| 1. Victor - I wouldn't be so sure about Hungary! After all, they did the same with Slovakia; Yugoslavia had as well some claims on the Romanian Banat - if Ro would have been attacked. The German 11-th Army was not so powerful and the Soviet attack could have been posed against the Romanian sectors, as in 1942 and 1944... The difference between Romanian army of 1940 and 1941 was not really great (as we already discussed in another thread, right?). IMO, the only fact that prevented that was the lack of initiative of Soviet leaders!
2. Imperialist - not immediately near the borders, unless you plan an attack! Have you ever heard about "echeloned defense lines" or hawever would yyou translate "linii de apărare în adâncime"?
This is going off-topic, however!
|Posted by: Imperialist June 22, 2009 08:06 pm|
Given the length of the border, the lack of defensive works and the need to have enough forces to both defend and maneuver against the thrusts of a blitz, I don't see a problem with the Soviets having a lot of units there.
Besides, I am suspicious of the term immediately near. What does that mean in practical terms and how "much" near is supposed to make the difference between an impending offensive or a mere defensive? There isn't any standard here. The troops could have been 20 kilometers or 2 meters off the borders. The fact is Hitler decided on the attack months before. Whatever the Soviet moves were they came only as an excuse to an already decided German move.
|Posted by: MMM June 22, 2009 08:29 pm|
|I/we wasn't discussing here the pretexts of Hitler/Stalin! The troops on both sides were a few km's from the "new" borders and AFAIK the "natives" were evacuated on both sides of the border, so both armies were preparing to attack!|
|Posted by: Victor June 23, 2009 10:26 am|
1. Please explain logically how could Hungary attack Romania in June 1941 in concert with the Red Army. This is a true SF scenario: Horthy denouncing his participation in the Tripartite Pact, giving up the alliance with his all-mighty neighbour Germany in order to ally himself with the ideological enemy he fought in 1919-1920. And all this for a not very sure thing back then.
2. There was no Yugoslavia in June 1941.
3. The German 11th Army was strong enough to defend the Prut line and so were the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies. Count the divisions on each side and you will be surprised.
Comparing the situation on the Prut in June 1941 with the fronts near Stalingrad in November 1942 or the front in Moldavia in August 1944 is beyond comparing apples with oranges - it's comparing berries with pumpkins. The only thing in common is the name of the oppononets. I suggest you do some reading on the Red Army in the June 1941, becuase you seem to lack some knowledge in this area. I would suggest David Glantz's Stumbling Colossus.
4. Ofcourse the difference between the Romanian Army between June 1940 and july 1940 wasn't great, but there was an improvement in terms of equipment, especially regarding AT guns, and in organization.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 June 23, 2009 03:10 pm|
| wow, MMM, you sure took some heat on this one! Interesting discussion tho. Is it time for a strategic retreat on this "what if"? There seems little support for this particular thesis?
|Posted by: MMM June 23, 2009 08:22 pm|
| Indeed it is time to call it quits! Whether I affirmed or I allowed to be understood that* from my previous affirmations, it is a mistake (which I appearently didn't make it for the first time)! So, either I'm just a misunderstood guy or I cannot express myself without being "distorted".
* - that Yugoslavia existed in june 1941 or that Horthy would ally himself w/ Stalin in 1941. Those are really sci-fi things. Excluding the paranoid variant in which "cineva are ceva cu mine", I guess a line was crossed!
Regarding the strength of the armies in june 1941, I just finished reading some books on that theme (so I couldn't possibly be surprised); except, of course, Russian sources! Where can I read David Glanz?
|Posted by: dragos June 23, 2009 09:10 pm|
|Besides other arguments already presented, the Soviet chain of command at grand operations level in the initial stages of Barbarossa was totally shattered. There was practically no cooperation between larger than division units. Therefor the Soviets managed only to mount successful minor counterattacks, such as against the Romanian bridgeheads east of Prut River, but all the large counter-strikes carried by the Soviet divisions early on ended in the utter annihilation of those units.|
|Posted by: Victor June 24, 2009 06:42 am|
You lack continuity in your posts. You start of talking about how the Red Army could have seriously hindered the Wehrmacht's offensive, by successfully invading Romania in June 1941. Then you start writing about what the Soviets' plans were in 1940 or who knows what you were thinking, although it is irrelevant to the situation of June 1941. And then you are surprised that you are being reminded that Yugoslavia didn't exist anymore in June 1941 or that Hungary wouldn't attack Romania in June 1941 if the Soviet Union did? Show more rigor in your posts and arguments, before whining that someone has something against you.
Furthermore if you do not have the complete picture (meaning also the Soviet side), it is a little inappropriate to make claims that you cannot actually support with arguments. Sure, it will add some nonsense posts to your post count, but is this really more important than having a constructive and interesting discussion?
You can buy David Glantz's books easily from amazon.com, but I will post the following days the OoB of the Soviet armies on the Romanian border in June 1941 in order to help you.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 June 25, 2009 02:29 am|
| Continuity aside, it's an interesting thread.
MMM posed a good one (June 20): "Question: Why didn't they invade Romania?????" ......It seems most of us agree the answer.
More curious though, are the Russian plans he alludes to: it seems they were real.
IMO, the thread gets confused when he (we) combine a discussion of those plans and the 1941 futility for the Reds to mount a real invasion.
It seems clear now the Soviets began to prepare for war with Germany in 1940, contrary to the popular myth they were asleep at the wheel.
Red Army philosophy called for "active defence and massive counter- offenses into enemy territory...to the astonishment of German forces, Soviet enginneers began to build fortifications in full view, right on the frontier itself." ...quote from Russia's War, Richard Overy, Penguin Books 1998; ( a book made from BBC/Russian (!) TV series which used post 1989 released KGB material)
Actually. it turns out plans went even further back; again drawing on post 89' data, in 1938 Stalin planned, to intervene in the Sudetenland crisis by sending 100,000 to cross through Romania (the only viable route) into Czechoslovakia, and forced Romania to agree to the "transit" at the time! (G. Jukes, "The Red Army and the Munich Crisis", Journal of Contemporary History 26 (1991) pp196-98.
|Posted by: Victor June 25, 2009 06:57 am|
| The invasion plans and preparations were real in 1940, but it's beside the point for what happened in June 1941. Like I said several times already, the situation was completely different.
In 1938, Romania did not allow Soviet troops to pass through its territory. The information in that article is false.
|Posted by: MMM June 25, 2009 02:15 pm|
| Still, there were a number of flights over our territory: bombers bought by Czechoslovakia from SU - just "testing the water"... And a number of private declarations (to Soviet officials) made by Romanian officials of the time, stating (essentially) that nobody would admit openly a Soviet trespassing, but if it were to happen ("fait accompli"), there would not be a big deal. Anyway, Stalin was more interested in "testing the water" (or "fishing in troubled waters") than in fighting the Germans too early (according also to Suvorov, before the world was in flames...) for his own purposes - aka world domination plan.
And, Victor, don't be so harsh with the foreign sources: they either keep repeating some biased oppinions, or just try to put the facts in a light favourable to whatever purpose they had at the moment. Look at our "history market" and see there's little difference (my "funny" oppinions included, as well)!
|Posted by: Imperialist June 26, 2009 12:25 am|
|Posted by: Dénes June 26, 2009 08:43 am|
For those who have not read it, here is the link to my study related to this very topic, posted earlier on this site:
|Posted by: MMM June 26, 2009 04:23 pm|
Oh, come on, cnflyboy, look at a map! (of that time, surely!)
The really good route was through Poland - and they really didn't want to let the Russians through... Through Romania, there was only a small, very "detouring" route - much less than a backdoor to Cz.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 July 07, 2009 03:08 am|
Hey; I'm just reporting what I found in the literature; I believe the citation is to a peer reviewed academic publication. As far as I know, WW2.Ro is supposed to be a research oriented forum; I'm posting one tiny result of my little efforts is all.
Where's the beef? As implied, the "really good" route was not doable (viable) for reason you mention. The route cited apparently was such. (btw, neither I nor the source said it was used, merely agreed, Victor). MMM: I look at maps all the time, thank you.
|Posted by: MMM July 07, 2009 08:21 am|
|No beef at all; no pork or fish either It's just the annoying fact that sometimes peopl take for granted sooooo many affirmations just because they're made by "scientists" or other "celebrities", without bothering to verify! I remember that in the last high-school year, when I had Romanian history classes, the teacher explained us that it was a great "boloni" the USSR-Romania-Czechoslovakia road - we just had to look at a map! That's why I assumed there were your oppinions. "Bonne chance!"|
|Posted by: feic7346 July 07, 2009 06:13 pm|
| The Germans defeated the Czar! The czar had soldiers who crossed themselves to the czar and to god and went into battle.
In 1941 they were entering a war against a communist regime that was hated by most of its citizens because it had impoverished them and left them hungry. Stalin had killed most of its good generals. German equipment and tactics had defeated Russian equipment and tactics in Spain.
Arguments could be made that it was not case of Germany vs. Russia but a case of Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Romania + the industrial shares of France, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Czechoslovakia and Poland vs. Russia!
So the conflict was far far far from one sided!
Granted England was a pain but they could never be a threat in western Europe in 1941! They had their hands full with the U-boats and 3 German divisions in Egypt!
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 July 07, 2009 07:18 pm|
Thank you for your response.
This is (mostly) a serious forum; seems like few blowhards here of the type you describe hang around for long, or are regarded as worth the pixels on your screen.
I've learned much here about what some of MY high school/college teachers might have called the "Eastern Front", almost as if it were secondary, and not the central European theater.
I'm still learning....... this time from the primary sources, so abundant on the many WW2.ro threads like this one.
|Posted by: dragos July 07, 2009 08:11 pm|
There were not all the Russian soldiers so dedicated to the Czar (if so, how could the Reds succeed?) and not so many people that hated the communist regime, as you picture it. If the communist regime in USSR was so weak and unpopular as the Czarist one, then sure, it would have crumbled under the combined factors of war and inside turmoil as it happened in WW1. The Russian peasants were hungry and impoverished under the Czar too. But the Soviet propaganda machine was much more effective in 1941 than any means available to the pre-Soviet regime, the communications, the presence of NKVD structures down to the lowest army units prevented the acts of crossing the line dictated by the party and so on. You can't draw an analogy between WW1's Russia and the Soviet Union in 1941.
Also the Soviet Union, while arguably lacking in doctrine, had superior equipment in 1941, both in armor and artillery, in efficiency and numbers. While this edge maintained over the course of the war, after the initial failures the Soviets also learned the proper tactics so by 1943 we could no longer discuss about the superiority of the German tactics.
Even if the combined force of Germany and her Axis' satellites had mathematical superiority in manpower, they were lacking the logistics needed to reach all the crucial objectives in time before the Soviets could turn back the tide, because the time was ticking in the favor of the latter. With each day passed after the launch of Barbarossa, the Germans were losing the advantage of surprise and chaos created in the ranks of the Red Army, while Stalin and his Soviet structures were gaining strength.
As for the Brits, for Churchill, the news of Germany's attack upon Soviet Union were for the first time a certitude that Germany would eventually lose the war.
|Posted by: MMM July 08, 2009 07:10 am|
There are info's that it didn't happened quite like that! Seems that many of those executed were party paper-pushers, in the army since 1917 or something! As for good generals, how about
Jukov or Malinovski, then?
|Posted by: feic7346 July 08, 2009 03:41 pm|
Alot of people hated the Communist regime! Especially in Ukraine and Byelorussia both frontier areas where many battles would take place. But the Nazis saw these people as subhuman unless they were helping round up Jews.
Also if a soldier of the Czar was captured he was a prisoner. If a Red Army soldier was captured he was lucky to be sent to a labor camp! He would probably be killed especially if he was NKVD or Communist party. If he made it back to the Reds Stalin would end him to Siberia!
Tuckachevsky was executed in the purge. Stalin replaced the generals executed with Budenny, Voroshilov and other party hacks who had war experience on armored trains in the Russian civil war! Hardly useful in 1941! The Red Army generals that won the war were junior in 1941 when the war started!
|Posted by: feic7346 July 08, 2009 03:45 pm|
| After the initial failures the Soviets also learned the proper tactics so by 1943 we could no longer discuss about the superiority of the German tactics.
Really? The Soviets did no strategic bombing during the war! Terrible strategy because it probably cost hundreds of thousands of Russian lives! The Soviets used bombers to bom the fron but 1000 miles behind the line the Germans did as they wished! The whole Caucasus operation in 1942 relied on 1 bridge at Dnepropetrovsk for supply! Should it not have been bombed?
|Posted by: MMM July 08, 2009 04:55 pm|
|Well, perhaps they weren't familiarized with the concept of strategic bombing! IIRC, the germans weren't either - they didn't even have heavy bombers!|
|Posted by: dragos July 09, 2009 06:30 pm|
Suggesting that the Soviets did not make use of logistical or strategical strikes is misleading. For example, they tried to destroy the bridge over Danube at Cernavoda on 10 August 1941 and managed to damage it. Of course, they did not employ strategic bombings at the scale the Western Allies did, because the dynamic nature of the Eastern Front and the struggle for survival did not allow the Soviets to spend their resources on strategic bombers. Neither did the Germans excelled at strategic bombings, as MMM pointed out, look how they wasted their bombers during the Battle of Britain and the "Blitz".
Do you mean there was only one bridge over Dnieper ?
Some of the Red Army generals that escaped the purge were not as incompetent as you might imply, at least not all of them. Zhukov is an example, during the battle of Khalkhin Gol, showing excellent combined arms and mass armor tactics even before WW2 officially started.
|Posted by: feic7346 July 10, 2009 05:53 pm|
|Budenny commanded in the South. Voroshilov in the North. Kirponos ion the center! All ace generals who received their credentials in military studies from the institute of Marxism Lenininsm!|
|Posted by: MMM July 10, 2009 07:52 pm|
| Only Budionnii was outright stoopid; IIRC, Kirponos was KIA and Vorosilov recovered in the later stages of war.
|Posted by: Radub July 11, 2009 09:24 am|
The Germans had a heavy bomber in WW2, the He177.
The Germans were in fact very familiar with the concept of long range strategic bombing. They used it extensively in WW1.
"Strategic bombing" and "long range strategic bombing" are two completely different things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II
This is a very compelx issue and there are thick books dedicated to it.
Germany used "strategic bombing" but such attacks were launched from relatively close range when compared to, for example, USAF and RAF. In fact, they did not need the range because the frontline was very narrow. If Germans were bombing Stalingrad, they had airfields close by so they did not need long range bombers. On the other hand, if the Allies wanted to bomb Germany, they did not have any airfields close by, so they had to use long-range bombers. In actual fact, a large bomber such as the B-17 could carry a 2000Kg bombload on a long range mission but the rest of the aircraft weight was taken by the extra fuel required to travel such a very long distance and the extra machine guns (and the ancillary ammunition and crews) to defend itself against attacks. In comparison, a Heinkel 111 could carry the same 2000Kg bombload but was much smaller than the B17 since it did not need to carry that much fuel on board. So, the "heavy bomber" that the Germans (apparently) lacked, actually did not refer to the "bomb weight", but rather to the "fuel weight".
|Posted by: MMM July 11, 2009 01:03 pm|
| Again, right on target! Following: observations/critics:
1. Indeed, I should have been more specific: they lacked the concept of long-renge strategic bombing, because (partly true*) they didn't need it.
2. He-177 was available only from 1942, according to wikipedia - so, the eternal German story of too little, too late (as if when confronting SU+US, this would have mattered).
3. WW2 was different from WW1, even for Goring... so I guess they were so eager to adopt new tactics/strategies/doctrines/weapons that they didn't use what little they could. (said he, about 70 years later...)
* - in Mein Kampf and in Barbarossa planning, Hitler rambled on about pushing the russians across the Urals and controlling them with heavy long-range bombers - which he didn't have!
|Posted by: Imperialist July 11, 2009 10:38 pm|
Budenny got his military studies in the Cavalry School long before the bolsheviks came to power.
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 July 12, 2009 05:18 pm|
Maybe they thought (correctly, it turns out) that strategic missles and rocketry, not to mention jet propulsion, would obviate bombers, of whatever weight!
If the Germans had just a liitle more time to develope the ICBM's they invented, (and possibly nuclear weapons), we'd all be speaking German right now. (at least those of us left alive).
|Posted by: feic7346 July 13, 2009 10:36 pm|
| Budenny got his military studies in the Cavalry School long before the bolsheviks came to power.
That should suffice for command of what 3 million men in the Ukraine? The guy was an idiot and comparable of the lot that Stalin had commanding in 1941!
|Posted by: MMM July 14, 2009 10:05 am|
Do you mean to compare Jukov, Vassilievski, Konev & others with Budenii? That's really sharp of you! Now try comparing them w/ Ceausescu, as well - he was a general, at a certain moment in the 60's!
|Posted by: feic7346 July 14, 2009 02:37 pm|
|Exactly the point I was making. You lost me MMM: the Socviet Union was BEATABLE because the great idiot STALIN put people like Budenny and Voroshilov in command in 1940-41 instead of more capable people. Loyalty over competency! That is the way of Communism! So 7-8 million Red Army soldiers were killed, captured or missing because of the idiots commanding them! This made it easier for them to be beat!|
|Posted by: Dmitry August 26, 2009 11:48 am|
I would add, that Germany could succeed much better if they wouldn't act like they did on occuped territories. About 2 million Russian men joined anti-bolschevik forces only officially.
My historical sympathies lie on the side of White movement (anti-communist) of the Civil war in Russia 1917-1922. A lot of these people joined axis and local anti-bolschevik forces during WW2 - I don't blame them since I understand that for most of them Stalin and his government were the same envadors as Hitler was, since many of them grew up in other Russia, not soviet.
|Posted by: MMM August 26, 2009 01:55 pm|
| Back to life, then...
Germany could NOT have done things differently, because it seems that the Nazi Doctrine (see Mein Kampf for references: I tried to read it but eventually gave up because either translation was faulty or the style was...) stated the "Drang nach Osten" was at hand - so I guess a depopulation of the territories was necessary, as well as an "excuse" for unleashing the savage teutonic instincts ("furor germanicus") on the "untermensch".
|Posted by: cnflyboy2000 September 09, 2009 12:43 am|
Of course Germany could have done differently, and if the Germans had succeeded in assasinating Hitler they would have, could have, should have. Hitler was an insane, and in the end, incompetent leader.
|Posted by: C-2 February 08, 2010 11:43 am|
| Split from topic "U.S. Missle Shield in Eastern Europe, Good idea?"
Well I always wondered about 1913....
I was talking about the "Don" since it's still fresh on our minds.
I just cannot imagine,how could "we " defeat the russians.
Just look at the map.....
And the winter.
Not to mention that "we" entered russia just as Napoleon army did 100 something years earlier.
By foot I mean.
|Posted by: contras February 08, 2010 11:50 am|
Of course, not we, alone, but with the allies. After the events, is easy to think and said it could't be.
Think again, in 1941, Germany was at war only with UK, who were on retreat.
Russians lost one million soldiers in Winter war with Finland many frozen to death, Fins only 40 000. At firsts stages of Eastern Front, few millions of Russians soldiers were killed or captured. At that time, no one could said when Americans were come to war, and what stage will reach the economic and arms support.
|Posted by: C-2 February 08, 2010 09:24 pm|
By "We" I ment "together with out allies".
That romanian soldiers went on foot to war,wasn't a big problem.
But that the german army wanted to take the world by foot ,thats rather funny.Especialy when half of the year you have sub zero temp,saising to -60C.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 09, 2010 12:20 am|
|russian water freezes at 0 C too, their army was, just like any other ww2 army, mainly on foot as well.|
|Posted by: contras February 09, 2010 12:22 am|
| Don't be so sure. On foot or not, the German army conquer Holland, Belgium, half of France, Danmark, Norway, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Greece, and many others. In 1941, they already took Creta and many part of Northern Africa.
On foot or not, can you believe that the Russians would not be ocopied by germans?
|Posted by: C-2 February 09, 2010 10:23 am|
This comparation is strange...
How can you compare the the countries above with the soviet union????!!!!!!
Especialy Belgium and Holand....
THe german tanks drove on asphalt.Filed their tanks at gas stations.....
Again look at the maps....
How can you concuer russia when you are at the end of a very precarios suply line?
|Posted by: contras February 09, 2010 06:06 pm|
| I repeat again. In 1941, very few doubted the German victory. Now, after the end, it very easy to say sentences who can't be combate.
I recomand to you the book written by military historian Bevin Alexander, Cum ar fi putut castiga Hitler al doilea razboi mondial, editura Lucman,2003.
The original title had also a subtitle, The fatal errors that led to nazy defeat.
|Posted by: dragos February 09, 2010 07:37 pm|
| Perhaps in 1941-42 that was the view, but only because Germany and her allies had an incorrect perception of Soviet Union's potential. Unless Stalin and the Soviet administration would have somehow collapsed (in reality it proved even stronger than expected), the chances of a decisive Axis victory on the Eastern Front I think were extremely slim from the start.
Germany was logistically unprepared for an attrition war (all victories until then were Blitzkrieg-style, fast), so once it lost momentum at the end of 1941, it could never mount again an offensive on the entire front. From 1942 onwards the major offensives were focused on particular sectors of the front and with objectives more limited one after another. In other words, from the very moment operation Barbarossa started, the time ticked against Germans who could not deliver the coup de grace before the steam ran out.
Off topic discussion, but interesting and it will be separated to another thread.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 10, 2010 09:50 am|
|the USSR was not winning the attrition war until '44 when 2 additional fronts in europe were established. at the casualty rates of '42 and '43 they would run out of men and material, quite some time before the axis.|
|Posted by: dragos February 10, 2010 03:30 pm|
| Do you have some numbers regarding the mobilization potential of Germany and USSR during 1941-1945?
How long it would take for USSR to run out of men (if that would happen before reaching Berlin) ? Since between 1941-1945 approximately 30 million were conscripted in the Red Army while the losses amounted to about 10 million that would mean it would take 12 years to completely deplete the army but only in the case no more mobilization was possible.
|Posted by: contras February 10, 2010 04:09 pm|
|I think (I can't remember where I found the figures) that Soviets losses in ww2 were about 20 millions (both military and civilians) from the total ww2 that was 55 millions. I don't know if that figure includes the losses in Winter War with Finland (1 million, only military).|
|Posted by: dead-cat February 10, 2010 04:10 pm|
| according to krovosheev, around 35 million were conscripted. of which 29.6 million were lost.
until the end of 1943 the red army lost 19.6 million
the germany army in the east hit the 4th million casualty somewhere in summer '43 and ended the year somewhere between 4.5 and 5 million as casualties.
the SU had a population base of about 180 million in '41 and germany could draw from around 100 million. the campaign of '41 brought territorial losses for the SU where around 40-45 million lived which brought the recruitment base down to a population of about 135-140 million. so even a 1:2 rate would be problematic for the red army, but until 44 it was close to 1:4.
losses are not only dead. they include wounded, missing and prisoners as well.
so at 180 million population, it would be perhaps 85 million males, of which 2/3 would be in the draftable age group. that's around 56 million for the SU and about 30 for germany. as we know, germany drafted between 17 and 18 million and they hit the bottom of the sack during late '44. the SU drafted around 35 million and found herself close to that bottom in '45.
'43 was the worst year for the red army in terms of casualties with a peak of 7.8 million total. '44 still costed 6.8 million, but the german front strength decreased substantially for 85% of all available men in the east to about 45% in mid '44 because of the 2 additional fronts.
had they have been in the position to keep concentrating in the east in '43 and supply the army with the reserves which went to counter "Husky", '43 might have been even worse than it was and also '44. that coupled with a increase in war material production, which would have went entirely to the east, would have made '44 a very expensive year, even more expensive than '43, while it would have been less costly for germany that it was.
|Posted by: contras February 10, 2010 04:36 pm|
| Bevin Alexander, I quotted his book earlier, has another theory how could be Soviet Union defeated by Germans.
He said that an indirect aproach would be better, not a direct atack. In 1940, after fall of France, British forces in Northern Africa has just one armoured division. Hitler has 20 in Europe, unused. If he sent 4 against British forces (like Raeder adviced him), he send just 2. Reader said that better send none. If British forces were defeated, Egypt conquered, Suez chanel in German hands, Hitler easy could occupy Arabian peninsula, and assure to him the oil reserves. In this time, he could secure bases in Western Africa (French colonies) for his submarines, makin life harder for British and American ships. Mediterana under his control, Yugoslavia and Greece would be trying to find a way to obey Germany. Eastern Europe would be in Hitler's hands without a single shot.
From Arabian Peninsula, German forces could advance east, very close to petrol oilfields in Caucaz. Turkey become German ally or allow her to croos their forces on his teritory. England would made big efforts to mantain India, and Soviets were esitated to upset Germany.
But this is just a theory, if we looked at suvorov's books, maybe would not be time to do this.
|Posted by: dragos February 10, 2010 06:35 pm|
30 million military (not including civilians) casualties for 1941-45 ?
The most common figure is ~9 - 10 million military killed or missing so that means the rest of 20+ million are wounded and returned prisoners ?
Yet from 1943 the initiative changed even without the presence of the Western Front and the front started to move westwards, so with all the losses the Red Army started to advance west. It is to believe that with the shortening of the lines the German resistance would have stiffened, the question is had Soviet Union enough resources to reach Berlin?
|Posted by: dragos February 10, 2010 06:50 pm|
The problem with this scenario is that in order to send so many divisions and supplies through Mediterranean, the Germans had to neutralize the British Navy and airforce. Even more, to control Mediterranean also seizing Gibraltar was a must. It was quite unlikely to achieve these with the resources at hand.
|Posted by: Dénes February 10, 2010 07:28 pm|
| I am not a fan of 'what-if' scenarioes in regards of history. History is (should be) a precise science.
This having been said, I will limit my post to one issue Bevin Alexander apparently overviewed: had Hitler not attacked the Soviet Union in 22 June 1941, the USSR would have had attacked Germany anyhow, possibly later on in 1941. Therefore, the entire scenario he described would had not happen.
|Posted by: dead-cat February 10, 2010 07:30 pm|
| Krivosheev gives 29.6 million casualties for '41-'45, of which 18.3 million were wounded.
there is a breakdown from his book at axishistory
for the german army there is a diagramm in Zetterling's "Kursk 1943" with the "evolution" as below:
from 22 june '41
until 31 dec. '41: 831.050
until 31 dec. '42: 1.912.000
until 31 dec. '43: 3.409.721
until 31 may '44: 4.060.300
for the eastern front. i said 4 million '43 from the top of my head earlier, but the 4 million were reached in '44.
even '43 there was a second front in italy which absorbed manpower, especially the replacements designed for the eastern front after the conclusion of citadel.
|Posted by: dragos February 10, 2010 08:19 pm|
Correct, but not significant to make a difference IMO. After all the preparations and delay, operation Zitadelle was a dud, Husky or not.
|Posted by: contras February 10, 2010 08:53 pm|
You're right, Denes, thats why I put at the end of my comentary the reference about Suvorov's books (there is another topic about that).
If this "what if" plan would had a chance to succede, it would be started in 1940, after immediatelly after the colapse of France. That, Yogoslavia and Greece would not exist, all the resources avaible would thrown in Northern Africa, to conquer Egypt.
Anyhow, just a theory of "what if".
|Posted by: dead-cat February 10, 2010 10:14 pm|
according to Manstein, things were not going all that bad when adolf called the operation off. and he called it off because of Husky. things might have gone wrong later though, but he called it off because he knew that he couldn't man a second front and continue citadel.
nevertheless, even with citadel not succeeding, still everything wasn't lost, if the EF remaind the only theatre. the largest amount of soviet casualties did not happen during citadel, which was called off after 3 weeks, but in the subsequent fightings.
|Posted by: contras February 11, 2010 06:07 am|
|German lossings were in main part Hitler's fault, in spite to his orders to stand stil and not allowed any rectification of the front line.|
|Posted by: ANDREAS February 20, 2010 09:22 am|
Maybe you want to say ...until July 1943 after the Allied landings in Sicily when german forces prepared for Citadel operation have been relocated to Italy... because with all the huge losses in men and material in 1943, Soviet Union, in early 1944 virtually won the war in the East... please read the german generals memories available and look the map ... and you agree... and if you won't than how you explain the soviet reserves as 9th Guards Army - formed in January 1945 from "Separate Guards Airborne Army" with 37th, 38th and 39th Guards Rifle Corps (3 divisions each)? Lack of reserves?
|Posted by: dead-cat February 21, 2010 01:31 pm|
| from 1944 on the german manpower in the east shrank constantly in lieu of the other fronts.
therefore the defence in the east was becomming gradually weaker. this, however was not because of soviet military successes in the east, but because the new fronts in the south and west.
the SU could form new armies in '45 without increasing front strength as the front length shrank, but again because of the front in the west, the german front strength in the east did not increase.
the ussr did not have limitless resources at her disposal. with the casualty ratio of 41-43 they would run out of men and material, before the axis did. this applies to pretty much every category, except navy.
also, no forces "prepared" for citadel have been relocated to italy, except the "Totenkopf" SS division and only briefly. what went to italy were formations forming in france. they drew away reinforcements needed to sustain citatel, therefore adolf called it off.
|Posted by: leemadison11 November 28, 2011 01:03 pm|
|The German may overcome the tactical part, but they forgot about the cold. That was a big mistake on the part of Germans.|