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What if the Germans attacked Moscow instead of Stalingrad?


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#1 Ironcross

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:02 AM

I think for the Germans to have a chance of winning the war, they must knock out the soviet union before 1944. Even if they took Stalingrad and then the oil fields, they still won’t be able to bring down the Soviet union before 1944(the Ukraine were occupied but the Russians didn’t exactly all starve to death), not to metion they could never rebuild and exploit the oil fields fully with all the partisans attacking and possible Soviet conterattacks.
So what if the Germans attacked Moscow in 1942? I think it would be better to actually fight the Red Army than to conquer empty lands, exhaust the army, and stretch the already over stretched frontline and supply line for nothing. The Red army in 1942 was still inferior to the German army in terms of equipment, battle-readiness, training, moral, and experience. So if the Germans could manage to encircle and besige Moscow in 1942, and assault the city in 1943, Russia could be knocked out of the war as Stalin would most likely commit suicide(If he stayed in the city as he did in 1941). That way Germany would have one year to recover before facing the Allied invasion in 1944.
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#2 Falcon Jun

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 12:51 PM

That's the same conclusion we reached when we wargamed it several years ago. (Now I miss my old TSR maps, Strategy and Tactics magazines, dice and counters). Hitler unnecessarily diverted troops and resources to what turned out to be a bottomless pit. But since what we did was basically a map exercise, I am sure we weren't able to include all the variables.
If I correctly remember what I read, Stalin transformed the areas around Moscow into a death trap full of mines, tank traps, etc.
It's also possible that the Germans may take Moscow but not knock USSR out of the war since the Russians can always fall back, regroup, and retake Moscow later on. Stalin, I think, would be pragmatic enough to temporarily give up Moscow and live to fight another day.

#3 PzJgr

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 01:10 PM

Even if the Germans could take Moscow of which I doubt, that would not necessarily mean the end of the war in the East. The days of taking the capitals to win were over.
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#4 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:30 PM

So to my understanding the Germans would try to take Moscow again?

Even if not the case, several major problems would occur.

1. German flank would be left expossed.

2. If Stalingrad could not be taken then how would the most fortified city in Russia ( and probably )in the world, not to mention thats its a little larger then Stalingrad with a slightly larger garrison. ;)

3. Surrounding the city doesnt mean that it will fall... Leningrad is a perfect example. Also by besieging the city the Germans too would suffer as they would now be stuck, draining their own very much needed supplies.

Obvious problems would also occur. You now have the Germans besieging Leningrad and Moscow. This means that at about 2 million men would be commited to the sieges draining their own supplies with expossed flanks or at best guarded by the Romanian, Hungarian or Italian troops. The question is what would the Russians do with all of those extra men that they now have from Stalingrad and Ukraine? ;)
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#5 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 02:47 PM

It doesn't matter which course Germany takes in 1942 if they follow their original logistics and preparation measures. They simply do not have the manpower, material, or logistic system in place in the East to win. While an offensive by AGC to take Moscow would have fared better logistically than with AGS, AGC still would have faced major obstacles to maintaining the advance. The shortage of motor vehicles, horses, and rail heads would still be there. The weakness of the panzer divisions with their minimal replacement of AFV would still be present. Divisions would still be short critical manpower and equipment.
And then there is the problem of what to do against a Red Army that is now capable of two major operations. That is, what is to stop the Soviets from maintaining a successful defense against AGC, giving ground slowly and then still hitting AGS and causing a major breakthrough and surrounding a large portion of that now much weaker force? That alone would have crippled the German offensive.
Germany lost their chance to win in the East when their 1941 offensive ground to a halt. By 1943 all they had left was to try and maintain a defensive against the Soviets. 1942 was not going to be pivotal unless the Germans substancially change how they were doing things logistically.

#6 Richard

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 03:54 PM

It doesn't matter which course Germany takes in 1942 if they follow their original logistics and preparation measures. They simply do not have the manpower, material, or logistic system in place in the East to win. While an offensive by AGC to take Moscow would have fared better logistically than with AGS, AGC still would have faced major obstacles to maintaining the advance. The shortage of motor vehicles, horses, and rail heads would still be there. The weakness of the panzer divisions with their minimal replacement of AFV would still be present. Divisions would still be short critical manpower and equipment.
And then there is the problem of what to do against a Red Army that is now capable of two major operations. That is, what is to stop the Soviets from maintaining a successful defense against AGC, giving ground slowly and then still hitting AGS and causing a major breakthrough and surrounding a large portion of that now much weaker force? That alone would have crippled the German offensive.
Germany lost their chance to win in the East when their 1941 offensive ground to a halt. By 1943 all they had left was to try and maintain a defensive against the Soviets. 1942 was not going to be pivotal unless the Germans substancially change how they were doing things logistically.



Well said.:clap::_wow:

#7 tikilal

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 04:32 PM

Not a chance in the world that the Germans could have done anything to change anything. If they had only had the forsight to wargame it out they could have surrendered in 39 and saved the world all the pain and misery that they were alone responsible for in the world in the mid 20th century.
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#8 Ironcross

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:02 PM

The Red army was no match for the German army in 1942. They succeeded during the winter campaign because they were up against an army that could not use their equipments due to the cold. They won at Stalingrad because they were fighting the Romanians, and surrounded an army that was already running out of food, fuel, and ammo. They won at Kursk because it was delayed, and the Allies landed in Italy, so Hitler called off the operation to move some divisions to Italy(According to Manstein).
Basically, the Red army of 1942 won't be able to hold on for long if it was attacked in the right place, at the right time, and with the right plan.
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#9 Falcon Jun

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:13 PM

Basically, the Red army of 1942 won't be able to hold on for long if it was attacked in the right place, right time, and with the right plan.


Sir, I definitely agree with this premise. Attacking any army, Axis or Allied at the right place, right time and with the right plan is part of the recipe to win battles. However, there's another saying to counter this one. "The plan was smooth on paper but we forgot the ravines."
For the Germans in the Eastern Front, their ravine was their lack of preparation for a winter campaign.

#10 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:50 PM

The Red army was no match for the German army in 1942. They succeeded during the winter campaign because they were up against an army that could not use their equipments due to the cold. They won at Stalingrad because they were fighting the Romanians, and surrounded an army that was already running out of food, fuel, and ammo. They won at Kursk because it was delayed, and the Allies landed in Italy, so Hitler called off the operation to move some divisions to Italy(According to Manstein).
Basically, the Red army of 1942 won't be able to hold on for long if it was attacked in the right place, at the right time, and with the right plan.


Several problems here.

Believe it or not, the Soviets too suffered from frostbite and had weapons that did not work. Fuel in tanks also froze. so this assumption of Russians being able to fight in the cold and the Germans not, is simply incorrect. One difference is certain, while both armeis were cold, the Russian soldiers were also hungry, which is why raiding German supply bunkers were always a celebration. ;)

As for Stalingrad, the 6th army was bleeding at a rate of 20,000 men a week. Surely there has to be some credit given to the Red Army for this.

As for Kursk this is Rubbish..... The Germans had lost the battle almost 2 months before the Allies ever set foot on the Italian mainland. Also due to Russian inteligence and superb defenses.

And as for Manstein and his accounts are nothing more then a disgruntled German officer. He states why the Germans lost ( as to the mistakes they made ) but does not give any credit to why the Russians won. ;) Most of the historians such as Glantz tear his book apart.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#11 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:57 PM

For the Germans in the Eastern Front, their ravine was their lack of preparation for a winter campaign.


This might have been the case in the first winter, as Germans got their winter clothes for the next 2 winters in which they stayed.

Also lets not forget that the Germans had 3 whole summers to defeat the Russians and failed. Just more proof that it was more the winter which stopped them ;)
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#12 Slipdigit

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 05:58 PM

As for Kursk this is Rubbish..... The Germans had lost the battle almost 2 months before the Allies ever set foot on the Italian mainland. Also due to Russian inteligence and superb defenses.


True, but Manstein was referring not to Italy proper, but to the Sicily landings, which began 6 days after Kursk started. The Sicily fighting provided a good excuse to halt the failing Kursk campaign, which was going very poorly for the Germans as we are all very aware of.

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#13 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:06 PM

True, but Manstein was referring not to Italy proper, but to the Sicily landings, which began 6 days after Kursk started. The Sicily fighting provided a good excuse to halt the failing Kursk campaign, which was going very poorly for the Germans as we are all very aware of.


Sicily had no significant impact on Kursk at all. The reason for the delay was to re-arm the Tigers with more armor and introduce more Panters to the fight. Had the Kursk offensive started a little earlier, the Tigers would be more vulnerable with very few Panthers. Also by the time Soviet counter offensive had begun the battle for Sicily had still been going on till the 17th of August.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#14 Richard

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:18 PM

As for Kursk this is Rubbish..... The Germans had lost the battle almost 2 months before the Allies ever set foot on the Italian mainland. Also due to Russian inteligence and superb defenses.


Lucy spy ring played a good part here and the Soviets knew the Germans loved pincer moments and it was Crystal clear where they would strike in the summer of 1943. For the Soviets they had the chanced too prove they could defend and hold there ground in summer, and they did. Not forgetting after the Germans ran out of steam the Soviets went over to the offensive.

Trouble with Kursk was Manstein wanted to snip out the corners early on but why bother with that when you can take out the bulge, Hitler loved offensive operations even to the point of military madness.

#15 Ironcross

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:42 PM

If I may quote Manstein on the battle of Stalingrad and Citadel.
"The second and even more fatal mistake was that Hitler compelled Army Group B to tie down its principal striking force, Fourth Panzer and Sixth Armies, in the fighting in and around Stalingrad. The job of protecting the deep northern flank of this group along the Don was left to Third Rumanian Army, one Italian and one Hungarian army and, in the Voronezh sector, to the weak Second German Army. Hitler must have known that even behind the Don the allied armies could not stand up to a strong Soviet attack. The same was true of Fourth Rumanian Army, which he had entrusted with the task of guarding the open right flank of Fourth Panzer Army"
"The German command thus had very little time left in which to force a draw in the east. It could only do so if it succeeded, within the framework of a -now inevitable- strategic defensive, in dealing the enemy powerfull blows of a localized character which would sap his strength to a decisive degree- first and foremost through losses in prisoners. This pre-supposed an operational elasticity on our part which would give maximum effect to the still-superior quality of the German command staffs and fighting troops......The plan did not meet with Hitler's approval..........Operation "Citadel" was timed to start in the first half of May, when the ground could be expected to have dried out sufficiently and the enemy would still not have finished refitting-especially his armour..........On 13th July, when the battle was at its climax and the issue apparently at hand, the commanders of the two army groups concerned were summoned to Hitler. He opened the conference by announcing that the Western Allies had landed in Sicily that day and that the situation there had taken an extremely serious turn. The Italians were not even attempting to fight, and the island was likely to be lost. Since the next step might well be a landing in the Balkans or Lower Italy, it was necessary to form new armies in Italy and the western Balkans. These forces must be found from the Eastern Front, so "Citadel" would have to be discontinued...........I pointed out that the battle was now at its culminating point, and that to break it off at this moment would be tantamount to throwing a victory away. On no account should we let go of the enemy until the mobile reserves he had committed were completely beaten.............The only concession he would make was that Southern Army Group should continue the attack until it had achieved its aim of smashing the enemy's armoured reserves. As a matter of fact not even this could be accomplished, for only a few days later the Army Group was ordered to hand over several armoured divisions to Central Army Group...........And so the last German offensive in the east ended in a fiasco, even though the enemy opposite the two attacking armies of Southern Army Group had suffered four times their losses in prisoners, dead and wounded."
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#16 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 06:47 PM

The big failure of the Germans, in 1941 and in 1942 and, for that matter thereafter was in engineering and logistics. But, keeping it to just the 1942 summer offensive the Germans were wacked before they started.

For the entire Eastern Front they were about 150,000 motor vehicles short of what they needed to sustain their forces at their 1941 level let alone the expanded 1942 level. The only army group to have a reasonable level of motorization was the one chosen for the offensive (originally AGS, in our scenario AGC). Even then, only the motorized and panzer divisions were up to strenght in vehicles. The remaining bulk of the army group, infantry divisions, were at about 50% vehicle strength. And, this was accomplished only by stripping the non-offensive army groups of their vehicles.
Because of a lack of replacement tanks and assault guns only the spearhead panzer divisions would have both battalions of tanks available. All others would start with a single tank battalion.
In the area of rail transport each army group had a single rail head forward supplying them. Each really needed one rail line / head per army or about 3 to 5 times the rail capacity they actually had. Since each group had just one eisenbahn bau (railway construction) brigade the situation was not likely to get alot better as most of these troops were engaged in keeping the existing lines open not expanding them. Once the advance started grossraumtransport (large truck transport columns ) would be the major means of supply. However these had a fraction of the necessary capacity to keep the army group moving forward. To make up for this divisions would have to strip their organic transport to haul supplies rather than operate tactically.
Infantry divisions would also have only 3 or 4 guns per battery rather than their authorized 6 due to a shortage of artillery. There was also a general shortage of artillery at corps and army level. Ammunition supplies were just adequite to support the advance but there was little fat to make up for problems or losses.
The area of advance towards Moscow was far more inhospitable to cross country movement than in the south. There were far more small rivers and creeks, lots more forest, and more bogs and swamps than AGS faced on the open steppe. This means far more need for engineers that are already in short supply.
Part of the German problem is self made. The Wehrmacht was raising a large number of new divisions in the West to expand the army and provide garrison troops. These syphoned off alot of equipment. North Africa was consuming a huge number of motor vehicles.
Horses were also in short supply. Most of the new aqusitions were inferior breeds from conquerored areas that had been in the civilian economy. This hurt civilian production, particularly in agriculture, and also failed to provide sufficent to make up for losses.
Manpower was also in short supply. AGC could be expected to make it to 80 to 90% full strength for their divisions, but AGN and AGS would have many divisions at 50 to 75% strength to allow this to happen.
This means if the Soviets do make an offensive in the south it is against a much weaker AGS and the Allied Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian divisions would still be present and just as vulnerable. A large breakthrough in this area would on its own force the Germans to respond and almost certainly abandon their offensive to do so. After all, the only mobile units in reasonable shape would be those in AGC.
The Germans simply don't have the forces in the East with their original logistics and engineering to accomplish the objectives they set for themselves. Not in 1941. Not in 1942. And certainly, not thereafter.

#17 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 07:45 PM

If I may quote Manstein on the battle of Stalingrad and Citadel.
"The second and even more fatal mistake was that Hitler compelled Army Group B to tie down its principal striking force, Fourth Panzer and Sixth Armies, in the fighting in and around Stalingrad. The job of protecting the deep northern flank of this group along the Don was left to Third Rumanian Army, one Italian and one Hungarian army and, in the Voronezh sector, to the weak Second German Army. Hitler must have known that even behind the Don the allied armies could not stand up to a strong Soviet attack. The same was true of Fourth Rumanian Army, which he had entrusted with the task of guarding the open right flank of Fourth Panzer Army"


I believe that this was written after the battle of Stalingrad. Sure Manstein can say this as he had done in his book, but at the time even he was not aware of such a Soviet build up which was being massed in total secret thanks to Zhukov.
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#18 Ironcross

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:05 PM

I believe that this was written after the battle of Stalingrad. Sure Manstein can say this as he had done in his book, but at the time even he was not aware of such a Soviet build up which was being massed in total secret thanks to Zhukov.


More on Stalingrad
"But to leave the main body of the Army Group at Stalingrad for weeks on end with inadequately protected flanks was a cardinal error. It amounted to nothing less than presenting the enemy with the initiative we ourselves had resigned on the whole southern wing, and was a clear invitation to him to surround Sixth Army"
He knew what was to happen even before Zhukov started planning on it.
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#19 Sloniksp

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 08:23 PM

More on Stalingrad
"But to leave the main body of the Army Group at Stalingrad for weeks on end with inadequately protected flanks was a cardinal error. It amounted to nothing less than presenting the enemy with the initiative we ourselves had resigned on the whole southern wing, and was a clear invitation to him to surround Sixth Army"
He knew what was to happen even before Zhukov started planning on it.


Once again, it seems he is only giving credit for Germany's mistakes and not crediting the Soviet ability to counter these mistakes.

This book was written only after the war had ended ;)
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#20 Ironcross

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 09:31 PM

Once again, it seems he is only giving credit for Germany's mistakes and not crediting the Soviet ability to counter these mistakes.

This book was written only after the war had ended ;)


Credits?
If Stalin didn't order his officers to shoot anyone who attempted to flee, the battle of Stalingrad would have not lasted for even a month. The Russians had a lot of time to prepare for the battle of Kursk, and somehow they still managed to suffer four times the losses in prisoners, dead and wounded as the Germans. The only man who deserves the credit of the Soviet victory is Stalin; no Russian would be alive today if it was for Stalin. If Germany won the war, then eventually the Russians would have ended up like the Jews.
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#21 FramerT

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:12 PM

If Stalin had'nt had 90% of his officers and generals shot, maybe Germany would'nt have even made it to Stalingrad. He should feel lucky that Zhukov survived his purge.

#22 Neon Knight

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:37 PM

He should feel lucky that Zhukov survived his purge.


the great purge of 1937! that's the key!
do you know were the name "T" for soviet T34 tank comes from??? "T" stands for general Tukachevsky (that's what i read! is it really true?). He was executioned in '37 during stalis purge.

Back to the original question: Moscow or Stalingrad?

The point is that in 1942 there was nothing the nazi could successfully attempt
The soviet superiory was clear since the beginning in '41. After smolensk stop in '41 Guderian wrote "we were told by our intelligence that the russians had 200 divisions, but so far we already counted 377 of them! And their tanks (T34) are extremely dangerous, the armour is so strong that our artillery shots rebound on the surface"

Actually there was only one field were the nazis were better: the ability to use the tanks. This gap remained until '43.

Anyway in my opinion, among all absurd ideas from hitler, his arguments to support the blue operation made sense, somehow.

The oil shortage for germany was real and the loss of oilfield would seriously damage the soviets (ok, now we know that it was impossible to bring the caucasian oil to germany but that's another story).
Consider that an offence to moscow in '42 would be obvious and expected. Probably Hitler realized (strangely) that the fall of moscow would not finish the soviets. it was a better idea to steal all possible soviet resources.

The seige of stalingrad was a total nonsense but if you consider the blue operation on the whole it was not so bad, and actually it succeded more than the german deserved (after the fall of grozny it was panic on the russian side).
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#23 Sloniksp

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 06:06 AM

Credits?
If Stalin didn't order his officers to shoot anyone who attempted to flee, the battle of Stalingrad would have not lasted for even a month.


Dont know about a month but............. agreed.

The Russians had a lot of time to prepare for the battle of Kursk. The only man who deserves the credit of the Soviet victory is Stalin; no Russian would be alive today if it was for Stalin.


It was not Stalin that prepared the defenses and then offenses at Kursk

If Germany won the war, then eventually the Russians would have ended up like the Jews.


A little short sighted dont you think?

If Stalin had'nt had 90% of his officers and generals shot, maybe Germany would'nt have even made it to Stalingrad. He should feel lucky that Zhukov survived his purge.


Yes he shot some, very sad.

But look at who took their place
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. -Adolf Hitler


#24 Jaeger

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:24 AM

What if the Germans had attacked Moscow instead of Stalingrad?

They had died colder?
(not sure since I haven't bothered comparing the average temperature 'twixt Moscow and Stalingrad)
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#25 FramerT

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 07:16 PM

It was not Stalin that prepared the defenses and then offenses at Kursk





I was'nt sure if he meant won at kursk or won WWII. Yes, it was'nt Stalin who won at Kursk, he wanted to attack while Zhukov wanted to let Germany blunt itself against the defences and then attack.




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