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> Was the Soviet Union beatable?
Victor
Posted: June 20, 2009 04:33 pm
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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.
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MMM
Posted: June 20, 2009 06:45 pm
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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.
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Victor
Posted: June 21, 2009 11:27 am
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QUOTE (MMM @ June 20, 2009 08:45 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.

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?
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MMM
Posted: June 21, 2009 11:46 am
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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.
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cnflyboy2000
Posted: June 21, 2009 09:23 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ June 21, 2009 04:46 pm)
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.

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".
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MMM
Posted: June 22, 2009 03:45 pm
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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 :)
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Victor
Posted: June 22, 2009 04:39 pm
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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.
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Imperialist
Posted: June 22, 2009 04:51 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ June 22, 2009 03:45 pm)
Re3garding the "attack mode", the Soviets were NOT prepared for defense, yet they had huge forces next to the "new" fronteers. Why is that?

Where else were they supposed to be?
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MMM
Posted: June 22, 2009 05:49 pm
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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!

This post has been edited by MMM on June 22, 2009 05:50 pm
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Imperialist
Posted: June 22, 2009 08:06 pm
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QUOTE (MMM @ June 22, 2009 05:49 pm)
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!

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.
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MMM
Posted: June 22, 2009 08:29 pm
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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!
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Victor
Posted: June 23, 2009 10:26 am
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QUOTE (MMM @ June 22, 2009 07:49 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!

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.
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cnflyboy2000
Posted: June 23, 2009 03:10 pm
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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?

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MMM
  Posted: June 23, 2009 08:22 pm
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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?
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dragos
Posted: June 23, 2009 09:10 pm
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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.
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