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operation barbarossa

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by pavlov, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. pavlov

    pavlov recruit

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    I am a student, studying history at high school. Does anyone else think that hitler could have won the war and conquered the world if operation barbarossa was sucessful, or am I just nuts?
    I have a paper on how russia's courage turned the tide of the war due in a week, and could use a jumpstart to my thinking.
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I think it could have been quite possible for Hitler to conquor what he wanted had it not been for the lend-lease effort from the USA and England.

    Also, had Hitler managed to link up with Japanese forces in India, and also convinced the Japanese to keep pressuriong Russia from that border--I could see not much of a problem in the Germans winning control of what they wanted.
     
  3. panzergrenadiere

    panzergrenadiere Member

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    If the germans would have started ealier if not for the balkans campaign they might have won. Also I think it was more Russia's resources such as man power and the country's vastness that turned the tide in the war. I'm not cutting down the russians, I just think those are the bigger reasons.
     
  4. Miro

    Miro Member

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    Hi guys.

    I agree that any of those things could have made the German attack in the East more winnable, but still a far shot from eratinly victorious.
    Remember that for the Russians this was not a war about money or rights or anything as trivial as that, they simply fought for the survival at national and at personal level.
    Hitler's policy was to occupy European Russia as far as the AA-line(Astrakhan-Archangelsk), enslave or expel the population, and then settle the region with Germans. Remember, we are talking about the fates of upward of 100million people here. Even with all the talk about Soviet-Russian unpreparedness and military inferiority at the start of the campaign, I see no way that the Russians would have surrendered or given up the fight. Stalin, for all his faults and brutality was smart to realize this and Soviet propaganda whipped up Russian patriotism and made the war unwinnable for Germany.
    But, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that the Wehrmacht had made it to the AA-line, and lets say that the Russians had retreated behind, with much of their industry now freshly relocated in the Urals, Siberia and Central Asia they had the ability to outproduce Germany two-or threefold already. How long do you think they would have taken to come back with a vengeance on the German armies in the East, and how long would the men in 'feldgrau' have been able to withstand a determined attack by the masses of well-equipped troops from the East. I find it hard to imagine that Germany could have survived such an onslaught, even if Hitler' troops would have stayed on the defense permanently. The distances from home were too great, the country would have been thoroughly destroyed and the supply situation would have assumed desperate proportions. Germany had trouble supplying the East Front as it was, now move the front line another thousand miles to the East into the forests and swamps before the Urals and into the Permafrost of the Arctic and you can imagine what would have happened.
    On top of that you can only dread the idae of how much worse the Russians would have acted when they would have made their push into Germany after all (which I believe was inevitable).
    The murder would have been wholesale and Germany would have been turned into a wasteland of biblical proportions. After all even the Americans and British were not unfavourable to such a solution (re: the Morgenthau plan) and with the Western Allies having reduced the German cities into a nuclear catastrophe, the Russians would certainly have played along and finished Germany as a nation once and for all.
    No, being born in Germany, I dread to even think about such a scenario, from all I have heard and read, it was bad enough as it was, but Germany and its people came off much better than they could have, and in some instances, even deserved to come off.
     
  5. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    In answering your question, in the same situation with the western Allies at war with Germany, I do not believe Germany could have totally defeated the USSR. They could have reached the AA line but even then, the Soviets could have fought back after recovering losses. Even if Germany defeated USSR, there would have been the necessity to have stationed troops to fight off the guerillas. The western Allies would still have landed in France and even though it may have taken longer, Germany would have been defeated anyway.

    Now if Hitler did not declare war on the US, that would have opened another scenario and you can look at a previous posting discussing this.

    In a nutshell, Hitler could have conquered the USSR but not the world and the question would have to be asked, would he be able to keep it? Good luck!
     
  6. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    More than likely, Barbarossa working as planned would have ended the war sooner.
    Stalingrad would have been fought in the Winter of 41/'42 in Moscow.
    As early as July, arms,munitions, and all sorts of war goods were being stockpiled in resistance centers. Much of the populatation was being trained to combat invasion and in the tactics of hindering occupation.
    August and September work gangs began constructing the first of the massive trenches built in '41 for the protection of Moscow. Workers were also building and designing roadblocks that could be easily set in place. Two divisions of Russian troops prepared buildings for demolition to block roads and open fields of fire. In September small arms were issued to factory foreman and "block captains" of the Workers Guard units to be distributed at need. Workers assembled twice a week for firearms training at many plants.
    so...............
    If the Wehrmacht had entered Moscow, especially had they captured any decent size portion of the city, Hitler would never let them leave. As we all know German supply lines failed as it were in our time. Imagine the massive confusion and slaughter of the scale of a Battle for Moscow scenario. The Germans only had bullets in December because they were falling back on(and past) their own supply dumps.
    The Soviet relief force's that arrived that Winter and pushed the Germans back in the open of the Russian steppe, would have instead engage them in a city the Germans were forbidden to retreat from.
    The flower of the German Army would likely bleed out on the streets of Moscow.
     
  7. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    So far, I disagree with all of you! [​IMG] That's a good start isn't it?

    Germany absolutely did not have a chance to defeat The USSR on June 21st 1941. Germany absolutely had a chance to win WW2 seven days later. Germany lost this chance completely at the end of August due to a fatal decision of Hitler's.

    First of all, what were the facts?

    1. The Red Army was absolutely not inferior in equipment. It was superior in almost everything, especially tanks. KV-1s and T-34s spring to mind - forget those, there were only a handful of them anyway at the time. But there were also thousands of BTs.

    2. The gravest weakness of the Red Army was a lack of 3C at the lower levels and considerably worse training than the Germans.

    3. It has been claimed that the purges which disposed of many officers weakened the army by eliminating so many experienced officers. But it could also be argued that the older officers were also replaced by younger, more energetic ones.

    4. German intellegince was absolutely rotten. Despite many recon flights, on the night of Barbarossa, the Germans really had no clue as to what they were up against. The Russians on the other hand, knew almost exactly which units the Germans had on hand.

    5. All Russian divisional commanders from the sector were in Moscow at the time for a seminar.

    6. The Red Army had orders not to fire on the Germans so as not to provoke them. The Red Army had no live ammo partly for days.

    THIS is what made the miraculous beginning to Barbarossa poissible - the compelte crushing and breakthrough of the Russian armies at the border. The consequence was a total breakdown of Soviet communication at the higher levels, disorder and confusion. In this element, and only here, the German Blitzkrieg could unfold its complete strength and might. And it was just that - luck.

    Within weeks, the Germans made millions of prisoners, advancing hundreds of kilometres per week. By August, the entire world, and this includes the Red Army, expected the total defeat of the Soviet Union within days or weeks. Please imagine this for a moment!!

    And then, Hitler ordered Army Group Centre to halt the advance and turned it south on a whim. It was this decision that made the German defeat inevitable. Germany had one chance to crush Russia - and that was when the Red Army was disordered, disorganised and in flight. Hitler gave the Red Army time to reorganise and regroup - and this meant that taking Moscow in winter was impossible.

    If Moscow had fallen in August or September, the Soviet Union would have surrendered and there would have been no spectacular relief attempt from the east. Was there one from Vichy?? Come on guys.

    What would have happened with occupied Russia?

    Much the same thing as had been done in Yugoslavia or Poland. The Jews, would have been, disgusting as it was and is, deported and gassed. Communists too. But the rest of the population would not have been exterminated. Germany found "allied peoples" in the Soviet Union: Ukrainians, Turkmen, Kasakhs, Georgians, Chechens, Cossacks - in fact anyone who wished for independance from Russia, which had dominated the USSR just as Serbia dominated Yugsolavia.

    There would have been Ukrainian concentration camps for Russians exactly like the Croatian ones in Yugoslavia, a Ukrainian army and a puppet Ukrainian government.

    Naturally, as stated above, the idea was originally (or allegedly) "Lebensraum", and no doubt some Germans would have settled in the east. They would have been about as welcome as the Israelis in Gaza, if you'll permit the comparison (the irony of history is probably the most powerful there is).

    What would have happened to the rest of Russia? Would the Germans have stopped at an imaginary line somewhere east of the urals? I don't really think so. They would have let the "Russian" state continue to exist as a German protectorate with German troops all the way to Vladivostok. BTW - plans for a wide-track railway from Lisbon to Vladivostok were actually made in Germany at the time. I've seen the designs. Very comfortable! These trains would have made cruise ships look puny!

    Anyway, those are my two cents...

    Hey - finally all the major economies (almost) have adopted the cent as their basic coin!! [​IMG]
     
  8. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    @talleyrand - for a winter half-capture or capture of Moscow, I certainly agree with your scenario.
     
  9. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Ouch Andreas--OUCH!

    But I have to agree with you and tally on most of this. Without a doube though--Germany definately had the upper hands and I do believe would have won if it had not been for Grofaz.

    As they say on another forum: Hitlers command capabilities were-ZAV. (Zero Added Value) ;)

    [ 23 February 2002: Message edited by: C.Evans ]

    [ 23 February 2002: Message edited by: C.Evans ]</p>
     
  10. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    I disagree Andreas.
    Just the sheer distance, infrastructure, and fuel constraints would prevent the Germans from reaching Moscow in August.
    By September its too late. It's late and I dont want to grab the books, from memory there were 6 complete divisions and several partials commanded by Groshkov (?), already set in place for the defense of Moscow.
    The diversion of Hoth's panzers to the north and Guderians to the South cost the Germans at the most 25-30 days. Then take into account the fact that if Guderian doesnt divert, Rundstedt may have been unable to crush Tylunev and the Southern Armies. Leaving them on the field of play, on an exposed flank, during a fight for the death. IIRC, Guderian and Hoth didnt even start moving their tanks until late August as the need for repairs and resupply was critical, so any push on Moscow cannot start until then anyway.
    Again pointing to the fact that Moscow would have until at least September when the rains came, clogging the roads with mud(the rail system being destroyed road travel was the only way for the Germans to move supplies), Moscow stands a great chance.
    Then add the some 600 tanks, 12,000 artillery pieces,4,000 machine guns(excluding sub-machine guns), 16 newly formed +7 existing divisions brought in put many warm bodies behind these weapons that arrived in Moscow sector by September 10. (I cheated and got my "World War II by the Numbers book)
    Odds just got way better for the Rooshans.
    Add the fact the Soviets can use their own rail system. 150,000 men from the East are on the move to the front.
    I have read Stolfi's book, Panzer Leader is on my desk here. I have heard the theories, but Moscow falling to the Germans without divine intervention falls into that fantasy category with Op Sealion.
     
  11. pavlov

    pavlov recruit

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    Thanks, everyone. Especially, Andreas Seidel and tallyrand. the paper is in, I'm awaiting a mark.

    Pavlov
     
  12. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    First, I agree a lot with Andreas, but Talleyrand is right also.
    First, Hitler must not have declared war on USA, because then was the precisely moment when he lost WWII. He lost the supplies war that day. He did it because of the alliance with Japan. He should have do it if Japan had declared war on USSR on June 23rd or so… But this does not come at the issue.
    War between Germany and USSR was inevitable; it was going to happen sooner or later, better for Germany it happened as it happened. Zhukov and Timoschenko had told Stalin that they should have attacked Germany in the summer 1943 or so, when they were ready and strong enough. It was better that started in 1941, because we know that Germany’s commanders where not trained for defensive roles; some of them were Rommel and Guderian, not even the best of the defensive commanders such as Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb could have made something important. The best defence is attacking!
    1. The red army by 1941 was very bad trained and equipped. New weaponry was still being manufactured. The soldiers had no combat experience, but that is OK. They had not got in a serious war. But the officers were not! Butcher Stalin killed the experienced ones! 30.000! There were 5 field marshalls, he killed 3! There were 300 generals, he killed 250! Etc. There were a rifle and 5 bullets every five men! “He kills him, you pick the rifle up and use it!”
    2. I agree with Andreas that German intelligence was not good as it was in May 1940. As it should have been!
    3. All the Russian commanders had orders to do not fire on Germans (because of the pact of 1939) and even Stalin refused to believe that the invasion was truth for the first hours! The Russian artillery did not have vehicles to be moved for, and there was not enough fuel for all the vehicles there. Stalin did not authorize the take off of the Red Air Force and therefore it was destroyed on the ground…
    The planning of Barbarossa had been carefully done, by experts like Halder and Von Brauchitsch, the troops were highly experienced, the officers were awesome and the force was impressive, but small, compared with the Russian. As Andreas says and everybody know, the Wehrmacht advanced hundreds of kilometres so fast (the fastest military movements in History), they captured hundred of thousands of prisoners by the lovely “Zange” (I have no idea how is it said in English) strategy, lovely performed by Von Bock. The Luftwaffe annihilated the Red Air Force within days and made herself master of the sky. Then Hitler got his nose into and screwed all up! He followed none of the specifications of Barbarossa and moved Von Bock’s tanks, disbanding Army Group Centre and giving them to Von Leeb and Von Runstedt. I agree with Talleyrand here, Von Runstedt needed Guderian’s tanks to smash the Soviet armies in the Ukraine. He did it wonderfully and captured 5 entire armies in Kiev. If not there would have been an exposed flank of several hundred kilometres…
    Andreas, we (at least I do) can imagine how was the feeling. Everybody expected the falling of the worst regime in the world, everyone were looking forward the collapse of communism soon… That is why German field commanders did not worry too much for winter clothes…
    But it is right that the Soviet army was very confused by then, and they were ordered not to retreat for our appreciation. Then it did not happen like in 1812 when they retreated and retreated… Moscow fell but there were nobody… But the Panzerdivisionen and all the German troops were exhausted for following the policy of Guderian: “Always ahead, never stop, to hell with eating and sleeping”…
    Of course Russia would have surrendered when her entire nervous system would have been taken, but it was not possible during winter.
    And even if the German army would not have taken Moscow in December 1941, but have not declared war on USA, 1942 would have seen the falling of the USSR and Great Britain (with the hammers of Rommel and Dönitz on British heads).
    Of course there had been new states, Germany could tolerate Ukrainians and others, just would have Germanised them… Then the Wehrmacht, with two or three army groups would have conquested and occupied the rest of the huge Russian territory (perhaps by then with Japanese help), another group commanded by Rommel would have stroke India with Japanese help and then go against the USA together. It sounds weird but think about it! It could have happened!
     
  13. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    1. The US had nothing to do with the failure of Operation Typhoon.
    2. The Soviets had plenty of small arms. The Soviet Union had been producing over 5,000 Nagants per month since summer of '39. Total small arms production excluding MG's, was just under 10,000 weapons a month, pre-war.
    3. The Soviet Army was in the middle of massive organizational reforms when Barbarossa kicked off. Many/most of the Soviet units were only partially manned or supplied. This hurt as much or more than the lack of trained personnell.
    4. Germany just cant overcome all that Russia can throw at her.
    A. Size. The sheer distance which Russia forces
    German troops to move is beyond German
    resources.
    B. Manpower. Soviet manpower pool
    is in excess of twice what the Germans can
    call on.
    C. Lack of Infrastructure. Soviet Union lacks
    the road and rail networks which allowed
    German Blitz tactics to work in the West. It
    also plays havoc with supply.
    D. Abundant Resources. Where the Germans were
    always scraping the barrel for strategic
    metals and fuel, the Soviets had plenty.
    E. Unwillingness to Enlist Soviet Allies. By
    ignoring sympathetic factions in the Soviet
    sphere the Germans doom themselves.
    F. Lack of Overwhelming Force. The Germans had
    enough men and equipment to initially swamp
    Soviet defenses, but not enough to insure the
    steamroller could continue.
     
  14. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    Naturally I agree with your first 3 points! [​IMG]

    I've noticed BTW that I'm starting to drift away from my old school of thought (why didn't the Germans win?) to yours (how the hell did they ever get that far?).

    But I have some objections to some parts of your point 4.

    A. I disagree here out of principle, because this is a generalisation of such kind that I can't accept it. Even though my sole reliance here is Stolfi (and I know that is very wobbly), I would argue that the Germans were quite capable of moving their troops to the Urals and further if need be. The supply situation would allow this, IMHO, provided we are talking about a short, quick blow of 6-10 weeks and not a long drawn-out war.

    B. Absolutely agree. But remember that there have been instances where smaller armies have beaten larger ones. Albeit usually the smaller one was on the defensive.

    C. Absolutely disagree. Please look back at the first days of Barbarossa. There was no infrastructure worth mentioning, but the Germans advanced hundreds of kilometres nevertheless. Russia showed the final perfection of Blitzkrieg. The supply issue is acute, I agree, but the Germans managed supplying their tank columns well enough in the initial phase, and there is little to suggest they would have suddenly broken down later. Since rail heads were moving into the USSR at a very fast and agressive rate (see Stolfi again it's chapter 11 - I know, I know [​IMG] ) I think supply was less of a problem than you claim.

    D. Perfectly correct of course, but quite irrelevant in a lightning war.

    E. Absolutely, although again this was irrelevant for the prospected quick victory over the USSR.

    F. Again this is totally correct. But Germany had the chance, once the ball was rolling, to steamroller the Russians to the end. The mistake was to give them breathing room at the end of August until the beginning of Typhoon. This allowed the enemy to recover, and the Germans, as you correctly state, lost the chance to overwhelm them.

    BTW - can you please recommend a good book on Operation Barbarossa that supports your view? I really need something to balance my views a little.
     
  15. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    And what do you think about what I said?
    I did not realise if you responded...
     
  16. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Pavlov,

    I'd love to read your paper, please send it to me if you feel like sharing your work with others.

    by the way, wlcome to the forums
     
  17. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Andreas Seidel:
    Naturally I agree with your first 3 points! [​IMG]

    I've noticed BTW that I'm starting to drift away from my old school of thought (why didn't the Germans win?) to yours (how the hell did they ever get that far?).

    But I have some objections to some parts of your point 4.

    A. I disagree here out of principle, because this is a generalisation of such kind that I can't accept it. Even though my sole reliance here is Stolfi (and I know that is very wobbly), I would argue that the Germans were quite capable of moving their troops to the Urals and further if need be. The supply situation would allow this, IMHO, provided we are talking about a short, quick blow of 6-10 weeks and not a long drawn-out war.
    <hr></blockquote>
    I read Stolfi's book about 4-5 years ago. I was stoked for awhile, thinking up German victory scenarios. Then you read a bit more, and find that logistical supply problems were glossed over by Stolfi.
    Think on this for awhile, please. It's most likely not possible just to DRIVE a car to Moscow in the fall, in 6 weeks. Given weather conditions, lack of fuel depots, and utter lack roads.
    Pre-WWII equipment is not as reliable as your Toyota. Add in the difficult and dangerous terrain that these trucks had to endure and you realize that the maintenance required is unbelievable. These trucks are lucky if they go more than 40 or 50,000 miles without an overhaul at the best of times. Add the fact that most of the trucks the Germans had, were pressed into service and came from 13 or more different countries of some 500+ different models. Many thousands of trucks were abandoned with broken belts or flat tires, as replacement just werent available. The German supply of trucks was quickly exhausted.
    The Soviet rail system was deplorable before the war. Then the Soviets trashed everything they left. The Germans managed to stun the Popov's so bad early on that they captured rail lines, bridges and even rolling stock intact for the first few weeks. This ended abruptly in late July-early August as the Soviets made concerted efforts to smash their own rail network in the face of German advances. This is also when the German supply effort starts to fall apart, as they had to almost solely rely on trucks. See previous paragraph.
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>B. Absolutely agree. But remember that there have been instances where smaller armies have beaten larger ones. Albeit usually the smaller one was on the defensive.

    C. Absolutely disagree. Please look back at the first days of Barbarossa. There was no infrastructure worth mentioning, but the Germans advanced hundreds of kilometres nevertheless. .[/QB]<hr></blockquote>
    This phase of the operation was across Poland and the Baltics. Russia is trackless waste even compared with Poland. In the Baltics, local anti bolshevik partisans, numbering in the tens of thousands fought to keep the Baltic rail lines from being destroyed by the Russians. Read Panzer Leader, Guderian devotes a chapter to them.
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Russia showed the final perfection of Blitzkrieg. The supply issue is acute, I agree, but the Germans managed supplying their tank columns well enough in the initial phase, and there is little to suggest they would have suddenly broken down later. .[/QB]<hr></blockquote>
    Tanks probably require more maintenance than any other piece of equipment on the battlefield. German was forced to hault her Panzers for most of the month of August to refit and repair them. Look it up.
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Since rail heads were moving into the USSR at a very fast and agressive rate (see Stolfi again it's chapter 11 - I know, I know [​IMG] ) I think supply was less of a problem than you claim.

    D. Perfectly correct of course, but quite irrelevant in a lightning war.

    E. Absolutely, although again this was irrelevant for the prospected quick victory over the USSR.

    F. Again this is totally correct. But Germany had the chance, once the ball was rolling, to steamroller the Russians to the end. The mistake was to give them breathing room at the end of August until the beginning of Typhoon. This allowed the enemy to recover, and the Germans, as you correctly state, lost the chance to overwhelm them.

    BTW - can you please recommend a good book on Operation Barbarossa that supports your view? I really need something to balance my views a little.[/QB]<hr></blockquote>

    Stolfi is a bit of a dreamer ;)
    Heres a list of some good books on Barbarossa and the East Front;
    "Fighting in Hell" by various authors, including GeneralOberst Erhard Rauss, General der Infantrie Waldemar Erfuth, etc.
    "Panzer Leader", by General Heinz Guderian
    "Panzer Battles", by General F.W. Mellenthin
    "When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler", by David Glantz
    "Russia Besieged" by Nicholas Bethel

    I wish you could loan books via some futuristic technology [​IMG] Maybe eBooks will catch on.
     
  18. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    Just discovered who your namesake was! [​IMG]

    Thanks for your reply, I'll try to get some of those books when I go back home. Do you per chance have the German titles for the books written by Germans (I'm assuming here that the originals were in German)?
     
  19. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    Nice thread.

    Talleyrands is right on the money.

    Andreas is belitteling the effects of the failure of German logistics, ignoring the need to sit fat in Moscow well before the rasputiza comes up, the effects of Soviet resistance and counterattacks (El'nja!), the front gap between AGC and her northern and southern flanks, the complete communication mess up between Hitler/OKW, who always said that Moscow isn't the target and Halder/OKH who more or less ignored Hitler until he finally conviced him to go for Moscow after it was too late.

    Kiev was the perfect thing to do (if you leave the hindsight at home) and fully in sync with the inital "Barbarossa" plan to destroy the enemy.

    Advancing without regard on logistics and the intact enemy at your overstreched southern flank is a pretty stupid thing to do.

    And even if Moscow had been encicled, I wonder which automatism is ending the war in this case. The Soviet side was highly concerned about lossing Moscow´, but had their plans for that case in the drawer.

    That's it in short, let's see if the thread is still valid.

    Cheers,
     
  20. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, this old thread has being discussed a lot in many other threads. And as some of you might remember I am of the opinion that it could have been done even without all the logistic and tactical failures and flaws there were. But the main thing for victory was gaining the most important strategic opouint of the whole USSR: Moscow. Because it meant the destruction of the regime, the morale and the loss of the main communication centre of the country. But it had to be done in November 1941. And the main ironny here is that the most amazing battle and victory in Histiry, the battle for Kiev made that Germany lost WWII. Because it diverted the whole German attack at the precise moment when the Russians were at about to fall... We gave them a breath and took time away that meant that we could not capture the city neither winning the war. And by 1942 the Wehrmacht was so weak that even without all the failures of 1942 the war would have ended the sanme way...
     

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