Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by C.Evans, Jan 2, 2001.
siberia might counterattack
So Moscow is captured, numerous cities in Soviet Union where captured...does anyone really believe Stalin would have fell to his knee's and begged to surrender?? or perhaps done what Alexander did when Napoleon captured Moscow, is to move his desk to another city, and carry on???
Besides a lot of blood was spilt in order for Hitler to capture Moscow, with the intention of flattening it and making a lake in it's presence
Lenin? You mean the Soviets took his corpse with them? Lenin died at the age of 53, on January 21, 1924.
I thought that Lenin's body was evacuated to Tyumen, in Siberia?
Good point, and what i was trying to say, as most think, Moscow falls, Germany wins, Hitler is victorious...Stalins millions of troops in reserve might differ, and what was scene as brutal warfare in terms of the Eastern front...does anyone think the Soviets would have begged for mercy as the LUFTWAFFE'S attempt to have Britain do likewise by bombing London...with the scorched earth policy, fodder for the horse drawn army already had to be shipped over 500 miles, and another 600 to the new soviet headquarters/capital...might be some skinny horses reaching the new Stalin war room/location...
Personally. I don't think there would be any difference. The tide was turning as soon as the wiermacht entered Russia. If the Wiermacht entered Moskow they still would have had to enter other Russian cities. The debarcle that was Stalingrad proved that although the Germans were a force to be reckoned with, they were still not capable of taking complete control of Russia. Look at Leningrad, Although the Germans held the city in seige, it could still not overpower it. I don't think that just because Moskow was the capital that it would made a difference to the strentgh of the Russian people especially as the munitions were coming from beyond the Urals.
Nope he was moved to Kubyshev in an armored train with a specialist who worked constantly on his looks.
This was the only time that Lenin's resting place has been disturbed.
on this link, but the new post concerning "the Russian front" got me looking for this old post I put up on the lame THC forum back a bit. I hope it doesn't disappoint.
The Gorki T-34 plant was east of Moscow by about 240 miles (460 km) and connected by rail, to both Moscow, Leningrad and the Caspian sea, east of the Volga river, and that plant itself was in existence since in 1929 when the first trucks (Ford-AA) and Ford model A cars were built in Nizhny Novgorod from parts shipped from the USA (before they converted to using Ford machine tools and stamping units to produce their own parts). This was supervised by both Henry Ford himself, and Ford personnel all through the twenties and thirties. In late 1941 the tank production machine tools and such were transferred to Nizhny Novgorod (since 1932 Gorki, now back to Nizhny Novgorod) from Leningrad. The name GAZ, as in the Soviet GAZ-AA light trucks, stands for Gorki Automobile Zavod (Plant). When this plant was finished and producing civilian vehicles and tractors in the twenties, it already had a separate section closed off for military production with imbedded bolts in the concrete floors to accept the existing machine tools of tank production, so when the Leningrad T-34 plant S.M. Kirov Factory # 185 was threatened with closure or capture, its machine tools and such were simply "unbolted" from their floors, and transferred to both the Gorki # 112 plant and the "Tankograd" plant by rail and production was begun. I think the first T-34s rolled out of the Gorki plant in either late ’41 or early ’42. But the other plant didn’t begin production of T-34s until 1942, until then they continued to build the KV "heavy" tank model. Notice that Nizhny Novgorod (Gorki) is on the Volga, far east of Moscow. This was the place to which some the Leningrad tank works were transferred before Leningrad was completely "cut-off".
And another point that must be made is that the largest steel producing facility in the USSR (in fact in the world for years and years had been completed on the Siberian side (east) of the Ural mountains on the eastern bank of the Ural river in the thirties. That was Magnitogorsk; this city played an important role during WW2 since half of all the steel for Soviet tanks and a third of all artillery projectiles were made there. BTW, the plant was constructed by the US firm of Kerr McGee, and originally manned by McGee staff/engineers while their Soviet replacements were trained in the USA. The Soviets withheld payment to Kerr McGee until the plant was working at full capacity with completely Soviet manpower in the thirties. This plant held more huge capacity furnaces in one facility than were in the USA. This city was connected by rail extensively for material for steel production, because while it was built next to a huge iron ore deposit, all its alloys, coal and coke had to be shipped in by rail and river barge.
And don’t neglect that in Chelyabinsk (nicknamed Tankograd "tank city"), much of Stalin’s soviet war production of the T-34 was transferred to the already existing industrial city. Remember that the Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory (later converted to tanks) and the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant, were both completed and running in the thirties. I also believe that when the Stalingrad tank production ceased, its machine tools (supplementing those from Leningrad), and experts were transferred by rail to the already existing Chelyabinsk industrial site, with the exception of the last shipment which were captured on the loading docks. The transfer of that Stalingrad staff and workers moved thousands of persons to Chelyabinsk before the T-34 tank producing facility at Chelyabinsk was finally set up in late 1941 and early ’42 by engineers and workers from the Leningrad, Kharkov and lastly the Stalingrad plants, it was producing tanks.
At first the existing "Tankograd" facility only supplied the front with "KV" heavy tanks which it had been building, and those tanks participated in the stopping and later crushing of the Nazi forces in the battle of Moscow beginning in early December of 1941 and continuing into ‘42. In the second year of the war the plant was completely converted to the production of "T-34" medium tanks, in just 33 days these (as well as Katyusha rockets) were then produced on a massive scale until the war was over.
Stalin’s Soviet also had many "plans" in place and constantly updated in the thirties for the eventuality of an invasion from Europe, both for arms production and the moving of the plants essential tools and staff to safer areas east of any front by rail. Many of the plants to the east were already set up with "closed off" but constructed sections in which to produce armaments. The GAZ automotive plant at Gorki (now Nizhny Novgorod again) is a good example, it was constructed by Ford USA in the twenties, had a section built and waiting for tank tools and staff to be put in place so its conversion to tank production went quickly. For a detailed look at the Soviet plans for the moves; Goto:
And finally this point; IF the Germans had taken Moscow in 41, "Uncle Joe’s" infrastructure would not have had the chance to blossom beyond the Urals and it might have been a fiat accompli...building an industry from the ground up, with limited rail capacity etc. all the while being harassed by the Germans.
The mis-named "limited" rail capacity was in fact extensive east of the Volga (which the Nazis never crossed) in the north/south directions. The going east on the Trans-Siberian rail was limited of course, but not the other. Rail lines existed between Murmansk in the north and the Caspian Sea in the south, as well as lines between the Caspian sea and industrial centers east of the Urals. While there was a "hub" in Moscow, its elimination would not cripple the entire system. And since the production facilities which were converted to tank and steel production already existed, and were connected by rail far from the Nazi’s furthest advance, Moscow’s occupation would not have been a "fait accompli" in Soviet collapse, simply a shift of government to a center east of Moscow as I am sure others have mentioned. It’s fall MAY have brought about a temporary truce and a re-drawing of borders, but that would have been short-lived and of NO advantage to the Nazis in the end. Stalin himself shouldn’t be given too much credit for this next, but without his approval and paranoia the swift conversion to military production from civilian production may not have happened as it did. The Soviets built nearly every new plant after 1923 to be a "dual use" facility. Tractor Plants could be altered to produce tanks, automobile plants could produce armored cars and light tanks, agri-chemical plants could be switched from fertilizer to explosives. And let us NOT forget that the Soviet rail gauge had to be altered in order to be used by the Germans, the gauge in France and the rest of Europe did NOT need to be. Shrinking it to the Tzarist/Soviet gauge was time consuming, and capturing Soviet gauge locomotives and rolling stock was never done on a scale which could have aided the invading Nazi forces.
However, that said I doubt that the Nazis could have taken Moscow in any event. And NOT because it was so "well defended" (which it was), but because it lay on the eastern side of a major river! The Nazis, for all their offensive ability, never seemed to cross a major body of water perpendicularly (flowing or standing) without capturing existing bridges and/or roadways in the instance of Leningrad. It seems that the combat engineers of the Nazis never perfected the long span temporary bridge concept. They could make short pontoon bridges, but none of any length on swift flowing, wide rivers. Even swamps and bogs slowed them down or diverted their offensives. Look at Leningrad; north of a major low/wet swampy area, never taken. Moscow; east of the Muskva (sp) River, never taken. Stalingrad; west of the Volga, invaded but also never truly taken and occupied. The surprise Norwegian invasion was semi-amphibious of course, but not done under determined enemy fire, whereas all water crossings thereafter were contested. The invasion on the western front into Belgium and later France shows the Nazis using the "rivers" (of any size) as flank protectors until they could occupy a bridge or two.
The Muskva River in the city of Moscow itself is no little stream or creek. When the canal between the upper Volga was completed in 1937 the water level and flow speed was more easily controlled and allowed for barge traffic to be more easily maintained between Moscow and the other industrial areas on the Volga which originates northwest of Moscow before flowing first east and then south for 2,300 miles (3,700 km) until emptying into the Caspian Sea. In Moscow proper the Muskva River has a depth of between 3 and 6 meters (10 and 19.5 feet), and its controlled flow speed varies between 1.5 and 2 meters (1.64 and 2.18 yards) per second across a width of 120-200 meters (393.8 and 656.16 feet); with the narrowest lapping at the base of the Kremlin walls. Without capturing existing bridges, and limited experience or abilities in the construction of temporary crossings, the best the Nazi could do was shell and bomb the city. They don’t have the capability to occupy the city, and so the central government of Stalin should NOT be forced out by Nazi invasion/occupation.
Just my opinion of course, but... Oh, another thing I just discovered while looking this stuff up for this post. Hitler, in his infinite wisdom and the firm belief that the "Operation Barbarossa" was going to be concluded in his favor very soon, ordered the Nazi war industry to shift production away from artillery and tanks and concentrate on U-boat and aircraft production on July 14th 1941. Remember his famous line (paraphrasing); "kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse."? He hadn’t yet run into the T-34s. Hitler also felt that issuing "winter gear" to his troops before the invasion would be "counter-productive" in the terms of morale; i.e. he wished for all to believe in his position that this operation would be completed before that particular issue would need to be addressed. Talk about hubris.
Let’s not forget what Hitler himself believed, that the "eastern" borders seemed to be their (German) only choices for expansion as they were a "land force", not a "sea force".:
"If land was desired in Europe, it could be obtained by and large only at the expense of Russia, and this meant that the new Reich must again set itself on the march along the road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to obtain by the German sword sod for the German plow and daily bread for the nations." (Mein Kampf, p.140)
Hitler’s design was to gain the Ukranian "breadbasket" of the USSR for Greater Germany’s own use at the expense of the lowly "Slavs" who didn’t really know how to do anything but copy their betters (according to Hitler), and at the most were only qualified to; "serve them in menial tasks", and only be educated enough for simple sums and signing their own names.
The other alloy minerals which Hitler may have wished to control were far beyond his grasp; manganese in the Urals near Ekatrinberg (I think). Copper, in the Urals. Nickel in the former Finnish territory near Murmansk. Lead and zinc in the Siberian territories of Altai and the far eastern Maritime Provinces. Aluminum in both the far northern and southern Urals. Wolfram (tungsten) in the far east near Lake Baikal and also in Kazhakstan (Hitler got some tungsten from Spain, its only raw material contribution). Chromium, in the Urals (Hitler had to get his from Turkey after "Barbarossa", and pay market price for it).The Soviet magnesium deposits were in Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk areas, near the Urals again.
In contrast to what some seem to think of as Stalin’s dithering after the Nazis invaded (he did for a short time, as he couldn’t believe Hitler would open a second front without first defeating Britain), these were his documented actions directly after the opening of "Operation Barbarossa".
On June 22nd, the Politburo with Stalin at its head worked on the text of the speech to the Soviet people, which was actually delivered by Molotov that evening, giving directives, commands on mobilization of other civilians and to the ranks of Red Army, announcing the appointment of Marshals and Generals of different fronts, etc.
On June 23rd, The General Central Command was established with Stalin at its head.
June 24th, an emergency meeting of the leaders of Industry to plan the war output and transfer of machine tools was held in the cabinet of Marshal Stalin.
June 25th, a Reserve Army was called up and placed under the command of Marshal Budyonny.
June 27th, the decision of all the Unions of the Communist Party to mobilize both Communist and Komsomol members
June 29th, the speech by Stalin to the general populace and the military was completed with the approval of General Command and the Politburo, to be delivered on July 3rd.
June 30th, the Establishment of the State Defense Committee was announced with Stalin at its head.
Here is a link to Stalin’s speech of July 3rd, 1941:
Old "Uncle Joe" had a busy 10 days there didn't he! I forgot to add that immediately after the Nazi invasion June 22nd (June 24th), all Soviet assets in American banks (which had been frozen after the Soviet attack on Finland November 30th, 1939) were released by President Roosevelt, which enabled the Soviets to immediately purchase 59 fighters for immediate deliver (including at least 21 P-40s). Negotiations concerning application of the Lend-lease act were simultaneously initiated. The promise of extending the existing program of Lend-Lease was offered by the American Ambassador in Moscow to the Soviet directly after the Nazi invasion (early July), then after getting Congress to approve the move to include the Soviet Union FDR was able to (by telegram) guarantee that $1 billion in USA gold backed goods in Lend-lease aid would begin to be sent to the USSR on October 30th 1941 with payment deferred. The first deliveries of military equipment under Lend-Lease actually began in early November 1941.
While this diplomatic and logistical crud between the new allies was going on, and the Lend/Lease material being authorized and shipped, there were, in total 1523 industries relocated away from the Nazis between mid-July and late November 1941, this alone involved the utilization of over 1.5 million rail freight and flat cars in those four months. Consequently I can see no situation in which the Nazis had much of a chance as to the Soviets seeking a "peace" with the Nazis after loosing the "war", but I will not rule out the possibility of a "truce" or armistice rather than a "peace" treaty per se.
But since neither Hitler or Stalin had a favorable track record as to diplomatic accords, I doubt it would have lasted long enough for the Nazis to harvest even a single crop in the conquered territories. The mineral wealth in the captured lands was limited (at the time) to coal in the southeastern portion of the Donets basin ( Kuznetsk Coal Basin), and the iron ore was across another river in today’s Russia proper, which the Nazis could never reach. But they didn’t need the coal, and they were getting iron ore from both the French occupied territories and Sweden.
PS I hope I haven’t simply re-stated every point already covered by other posters!
I've seen posts and I've seen posts, and this is a hell of a post
Too long? To bizarre? Or just interesting? I don't want to glorify Stalin or the former Soviet, just want to point out they weren't caught with their pants down completely. And that "Barbarossa" was (while not prepared for precisely), was semi-anticipated by the Soviet as an attack from the west.
I hope it was "a hell of a post" on the good side of same.
I'll let you guess that one
By looking at how Zhukov led organization for defense at the cauldron which was Kursk, capturing Moscow would have a very shocking communication effect to Soviet peoples. Ukraine would look for independence with force. However for Russians, if Moscow and its neighborhood was taken, the Soviet would organize Russians to dig trenches facing the German bulge which would then be Moscow. An tactical stalemate may lead to talks...then further speculations are not more useful because of too much uncertainty.
One major winner would actually be Finland, with the focus on Moscow. Finnish with Italian help and German troops in Norway could rush towards Murmansk, Kola Peninsula and Karelia -- essentially cutting off the whole north of the Isthmuses from the SU. Finno-Ugric minority in the Soviet Union could move to Finland. The White Sea-Baltic Canal could be effectively the border -- as long as Finnish could hold it. When Germany and the SU entered ceasefire talks, Finland would be self-pressed into participation to turn at least Karelia Finnish.
By the same token, another winner would be Romania as it would retake Bessarbia and take modern day Odessa Oblast and Transnistria.
the Russians were not going to talk, just like the US would never talk to Japan.....their country was too big and populated, ...the Germans had and would've had a longer supply line.....taking Moscow would not have changed the Russians will to destroy Germany....and US help is just months away...the Germans were never going to defeat Russia.....
They might however have defeated the Soviets.
it would have been very bad for the Germans : they could not hold the city and it would be a new Stalingrad .
Was attacking Moscow to shock Soviet political leadership ?
It would have eventually been the catalyst for a Japan/Germany war...
There would be multiple reasons for an assault upon Moscow, beyond a shock to the leadership.
Moscow was the major nexus of communication and its loss would severely hamper Soviet operations. There was also considerable industry in and about the capitol. The potential of bagging a large portion of the Red Army as was at Kiev. Giving German forces a decent winter quarters and potential good defensive position to fend off counter attacks.
If Hitler only had a good plan...not just kick in the roof...but then again we all might be wearing nazi uniforms then....
I want to go off-topic a bit.
On geography term, German advances -- like the EU's today -- are ever dissipating its military power from the narrow funnel end of the European Plain to the widening opening in the Russia-Soviet Union. I think instead of going from West to East axis of attack, why not try a north- south axis of attack:
1) more cooperation with Romania and Italy. Assuming Italy had been at least a capable naval power, German and Czech ordnance designer can help Romanian armies develop a general use tank, tank destroyer/assault gun, general purpose RPG and machine guns. These weaponry would be standardized to be produced in quantity and quality that enable Romanian land forces to be an effective army against the Red Army. An effective Romanian army supported by airforces could at least secure Moldavia/Moldava and the land of Odessa Oblast during the OB. Effectively Romanian forces would be responsible for blocking the Soviet Union advances into the Balkans. Also Italian navy and U-boats could secure a transport corridor across the Black Sea from Romania to south of the Great Caucasian Range -- modern-day Georgia the nation, completely bypassing the horror in Stalingrad and Kharkov and near Kursk. Axis forces would go in Blitz to Baku for oil from Georgia. In this way, the Red Army would need to travel over the mountainous range with Axis forces waiting for them in ambush. Bringing Turkey to axis would help too.
2) Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and Baltic States would be the buffer states against the Red Army. That meant German advance in the center except for the drive to Moscow would hinge on defense around Smolensk.
3) Just like the cooperation with Romania, better relation and help to Finland and Estonia would irritate the SU enough to divert some Soviet attention. Finnish leadership, as in history, could exploit and balance the opportunity during the OB to expand eastwards. In this sense, Italy -- the most free axis co-belligerent nation who did not entangle with the SU geographically but ideologically -- could send airforces and specialized land forces like the Alpani and volunteers to help the Finns. In exchange, Italy could get Soviet models of tanks, infantry weapons and aircrafts captured during the Winter War. Designers then incorporated Soviet designs into Italian weapons. However Italian leadership would still be an issue -- would learning by fire on foreign soil help ? Finnish leadership helped the nation grind against the Red Army in Winter War; could Italian leadership learn from Finnish ?
Obviously these three points develops from the North-South axis of advance, not the conventional west-east.