Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Stalin's lack of response to Barbarossa

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by bedhead, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. bedhead

    bedhead New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    In June 22 1941 hitlers army invaded the Soviet Union. Stalin was shocked. He thought that Hitler wasn't an idiot to be fighting on two fronts. His officers and German detectors told them that it was going to happen. They even had the date correct. History states that Stalin had a nervous breakdown and refused to allow his soldiers to fire back. He went to be by himself for almost a week. What do you think the reason for his inactivity? Some historians believe that he acted like his idol Ivan the terrible. Waiting and lurking to see if any of his officers would take control. But perhaps he wanted to act like tsar Nickolas when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded the Soviet Union. That being to do nothing. To starve them out and let general January and general February to do its work. Any opinions on this?
     
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,734
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    Any proof on any of this? I am quite certain, having recently read a first hand account, that the Russians were more then willing to fire back during the opening hours of Operation Barbarossa. At this time, Germany was not fighting on two-fronts either...that really only happened after Operation Overlord in '44. North Africa was seen more as a sideshow.

    I have never heard of the Soviets having foresight into the attack, or the exact date etc. It seems like if their intelligence was that good, Germany would not have been able to march to the gates of Moscow in the ensuing offensive.

    I think if anything the great Officer Purges by Stalin reduced the readiness and capabilities of his soldiers on the front line as potentially skilled, experienced officers were eliminated and the Soviet lived in fear of being purged himself. Overall, though, as Finland proved, Russian soldiers were not of high quality to start the war and were poorly equipped.

    Stalin would have had to of been a genius, along with his intelligence staff, to have planned for the Russian Winter defeating the Germans (logistics, etc) along with the other errors the Germans made.
     
  3. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    3,141
    Likes Received:
    355
    Location:
    New England
    Can you cite your source?
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    Napoleon could not invade the Soviet Union, no Soviets in his time just Russians.

    There were reports of the planned German attack, some pretty accurate, but if you dig a bit you will find pretty good "predictions" of 9/11 or of the real state of Saddam's WMDs, it how "believable" they were that really matters and that depends a bit too much on whether the are mentioned by anti Stalinist revisionists or not for my tastes, there are usually plenty of "we are going to be attacked tomorrow" alarms from the spooks, but most are wrong, .
     
  5. JZResearch

    JZResearch New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    I agree with Mussolini, Hitler had defeated France and damn near broke the RAF in the battle of Brittain at that point. He assumed the British Forces would fold soon. I would think if there could have been any intuition at all on the part of Stalin, it would be in regard to Hitler's open distain for communists while he was seizing power in the late 30s. Regardless, there is a lot of speculation on Stalins breakdown. The fact of the matter is that he was a man, who purged many of the people he needed to defend his country properly, and now had the German war machine busting through his door. From what I understand, his factories weren't producing the amount of resources needed to fight that war yet as well. He very well could have just realized what was in front of him and actually had a nervous breakdown. Also I personally wouldn't say that scorched earth is "do nothing". Having your civilians and soldiers destroy all resources to put pressure on supply lines seemed to be a useful tactic and took coordination and order I would imagine. I think we all agree that the soviet offensive would have been much different given Hitler trusted his generals a little more. It may not have ended in a victory for the Nazis due to the sheer volume of Red Army Soldiers, but could have put Germany deeper into the USSR with Moscow in German hands.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    22,301
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    Location:
    Kotka,Finland
    I am not sure why Stalin went and hid from the war situation, perhaps because he might have considered Berija,Molotov etc had now good enough reason to take the power and shoot Stalin. In a couple of books Stalin is said to have been surprised as the top rank ( Berija, Molotov etc) came to the dacha a week later he "disappeared" and asked for help instead of shooting him.
     
  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,056
    Likes Received:
    35
    He was warned by Churchill and FDR separately, and by his own spies. He thought it was an English tactic to get Russia to mobilize in order to entice Germany to attack, as he was keen to paranoia.
     
  8. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,321
    Likes Received:
    459
    More than a half dozen dates came and went speaking of an impending attack. A communist German soldier crossed the soviet lines to warn of an attack as well yet was shot afterwards. The Red Army troops did receive orders to not return fire. Thinking provocation such order lasted for two hours... After the initial shock had worn off it was time to get to work.
     
  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    6,321
    Likes Received:
    459
    Double post*
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,478
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    London, England.
    As with so many aspects of WWII, Stalin's response ( or lack of..) to Barbarossa is a complex subject about which whole books have now been published. Taking my info from Luther's 'Barbarossa Unleashed' which notes many sources, the 'Stalin nervous breakdown' is now largely dismissed ( it was created by the Soviets in the 1950s, when Stalin's very name was 'mud').

    With two evil poker players like Hitler and Stalin at the table, it is hard to read their minds. Certainly, many warnings had been passed to Stalin - these were dismissed as 'provocations' which could lure the Soviets into making a possibly disastrous 'first move'. When the blow came, Soviet forces were not ordered to offer no resistance, but the ambiguous Directive #1 was issued, including the sentence ' The task of our forces is not to yield to any provocations likely to prompt major complications'.

    Confused ? You bet......

    On 23rd June, Stalin personally sent trusted officers ( including Zhukov ) to various sections of the front to determine exactly what was happening.

    Stalin's complacency at the opening of Barbarossa may seem incredible in retrospect but at a lesser level, think of the Bulge in 1944. It took a while for senior US officers ( Bradley among them ) to realise that it wasn't simply a 'local spoiling attack'......
     
    Sloniksp and KJ Jr like this.
  11. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    3,141
    Likes Received:
    355
    Location:
    New England
    Good point
     
  12. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Yes. Complete bullshit.
    The Red Army fought right from the start desperately.
    Stalin wasn't a man with much emotions. I think he just went to his Datscha and was drunk for some days, expecting to be executed.
    He didn't develop an ingenious plan to defeat the Germans, he just knew, that the Soviet Union was too big to be conquered entirely and that time will work for him.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'd like to see a reference for that. The impression that I have is that he had little or no way to directly defeat the British. The conquest of the USSR however would render the British position even more tenuous though.
     
  14. White Flight

    White Flight Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    33
    That's my impression as well. "Little or no way to directly defeat the British," in my opinion was due to poor tactics.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    22,301
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    Location:
    Kotka,Finland
    I recall also that Stalin would have mentioned that he believed Hitler would always make an area demand or such first. And after that attack.

    Another book mentions Stalin had been following the prices of lamb wool. The Germans had not bought material for winter clothing so he believed there would be no war. Hard to say if there is any truth in that. However the strategy was to take the battlet o the enemy territory, but when Stalin finally decided to shoot back and gave orders to attack the German tanks were close to 60-80 kilometers behind the Soviet Armies.
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    54
    ??
    Poor tactics?

    What do you imagine that the Nazis could have done differently to invade Britain?

    The Germans were contemplating a contested amphibious invasion against the World's foremost maritime power, and in the preceeding campaigns had more than half of their navy sunk or disabled.

    Was Stalin actively directing the Soviet defence or was he AWOL for a week?

    It might also be noted that Gamelin and MacArthur also seemed to have lost control following a major attack
     
  17. White Flight

    White Flight Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    33
    Top of the list:
    Destroy Britain's radar system.
    Complete the objective of gaining air superiority by destroying the RAF Fighter Command, airfields and infrastructure.
     
  18. freebird

    freebird Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    54
    Or perhaps they were just incapable of destroying Fighter Command, regardless of what they did
     
  19. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    153
    Yes, I'm a bit at a loss regarding "Hitler had defeated France and damn near broke the RAF in the battle of Brittain at that point."....as as of June 1941 Fighter Command was far stronger than it ever had been in the UK, and was in the process of re-arming ALL its fighter squadrons at home with Spitfires. I did some hunting a few years back on AHF and turned up that by the summer of 1941, there were 81 Fighter Command Squadrons in the UK....and three-quarters were Spitfire-equipped, with the rest to follow by the end of the year.

    For the Germans to want to destroy the RAF's radar stations, they had to know what the RAF was actually DOING with radar ;) And that bit of the Dowding System...Ground Controlled Interception...was invisible to them APART from R/T intercepts - and by the end of the BoB they were aware fully of the instructions fighter pilots were getting from their Sector Control Rooms - just now how that those directions were put together.

    In fact, the only three days' of operations against RAF radar stations, though it DID create a big hole in the net over the isle of Wight on the third day, allowing German raids through for a few hours,...was A/ VERY costly, and B/ that limited success on the third day was achieved ONLY after the order to halt ops against RAF radar stations had already been sent out by Goering!

    As for totally destroying the RAF - it's worth remembering that the Luftwaffe command held a meeting on February 1st at which Felmy reported his concerns that he was running out of targets! The Luftwaffe had just completed two intensive weeks of ops against RAF fields in the two sectors in Eleven group directly covering the approaches to London...resulting in various fields being closed for a day here and a couple of days there...but due to the need for Bf109s escorting Bf11s escorting bombers - there was a strict limit by then to the number of ops the Luftwaffe could now fly in a day! 1/ they couldn't do more than they did, due to escorting requirements, servicing requirements, the weather, etc. and they 2 thought they had done enough and it was time to turn on OTHER targets I.E. London
     
  20. JZResearch

    JZResearch New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euRlmTHpSCI

    So this is incorrect? The whole video has pertinent discussion, but a clip from the 6:40- 7:00 mark states what I had assumed as true.

    "but in fact this was Goering's second crucial mistake, by switching from the RAF's airfields just at the moment when it seemed about to break, it gave it the rest it needed. Had Goering continued to attack the airfields, the RAF could not have continued to defend the skies"
     

Share This Page