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Who saved Moscow in December, 1941?


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#1 IRu

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 05:27 PM

December 5, Russia will be celebrated 69-th anniversary of the offensive of the Red Army outside Moscow. It was the first major counterattack since the beginning of the German invasion of Russia. I often hear that this offensive was due to the Siberian divisions and the General, which name was «Russian Frost». This is true only partly. There was another force too. There is little mention of them, even in Russia.
It is Navy, Marine Corps.
I would like to tell you more about them. At least, one episode of this offensive.
So, the closest place, where the Germans approached Moscow, was the north-west of the capital. This is roughly where is the international airport Sheremetyevo now. To the outskirts of the city remained 25 kilometers.

There were built fortifications. Several rows, including the location, directly at the edge of town. (I now live in the area). In the city, people were handing out rifles and assigned sector firing from the windows of their apartments. Troops were taken to Moscow from all possible places. Among them were sailors. All in all the battles of Moscow, attended by six naval infantry brigades, about 40,000 people.
64 th Marine Brigade arrived in Moscow with the Pacific Fleet on 30 November. About this team I wanted to tell a little more. It had 3 battalions, a total of about 5000 people. November 30 this brigade was directed at precisely the place where the Germans were the closest to Moscow. Left them to their original positions for the attack came out 331 Infantry Division, which had just arrived from Siberia. To the right from Marine Brigade, 24 and 31 tank brigades stationed.
The first interesting fact: at this moment, behind the Marine Brigade were not other troops. The brigade has built its defense in one line. The sailors refused to change clothes in infantry, dug trenches in the snow and took up the defense. Until December 5, they have already suffered losses, but did not retreat.
December 5th Brigade was ordered to attack. The first goal was to take city «Belyy Rost». This city stood on the road that ran along the front. The Germans did not want to lose this comfortable position. Russia has few good roads.

I have read several sources about this fighting. The official Russian documents have differences. Unfortunately, I have not found any description of this battle on the German side. The city was defended by the 23rd Infantry Regiment 106 th Infantry Division of Germans. In the Russian documents allegedly they had 18 tanks and 20 artillery guns. There were 3 attempts to occupy the city (3 attacks). Moreover, during the second attack the offensive was attended by 9 or 10 tanks of 24 Armoured Brigade of the Red Army (I have doubts on this score).
But most of all I was struck by what I learned about the third, final, decisive attack. This is confirmed by several sources. It's already happened on December 7. There was a frost around 30 degrees Celsius. There was snow depth of 50-60 centimeters. White, open fields. Behind him the city, which should be released. The sailors took off his black coat (stay only in vests, trousers, and his cap) and went on the attack on foot.
They did not run, flee, they were not creeps. They did not dodge bullets. They simply went to the city under enemy fire. Many of them had not rifles, bullets. They only had knives and grenades. About 1500 people went on the attack. The city was taken. About 200 people stay alive and wounded after that.
Guys, I'm really hard to imagine this. It's folly? Stupidity?
I think - no. Firstly, these people despise death. It is worthy of respect.
Secondly, I think this behavior is mentally broke down the Germans. There is a Russian writer, sailor, who had also on the WWII - Leonid Sobolev. He wrote as follows:
"And when the sailors are killed in battle, they die so, that the enemy becomes frightened: the sailor grasps with him to the death of as many enemies as he sees before him." I can not say better.

After the liberation of the «Belyy Rost» offensive continued. By February 24, in this Marine Brigade were alive only 38 people. This part was added by recruits and renamed in the 82 th Infantry Division, which in 1945 reached the Elbe.
Beside this I read the following: «In total about 40 thousand sailors fought outside Moscow. No one part of the marines sent in ground troops, back in the Navy."
Apparently there was nobody to return. I think that they died as heroically, as the sailors the 64 th Brigade. So not only Siberians and frost have saved the Russian capital.
Eternal memory.



Here, a description of the military way of this part (there is a scheme of attack on December 5-7). Sorry, in Russian.

http://history.h15.ru/papers/082sd.htm

Here are photos of the Navy

http://holyraven.livejournal.com/101697.html

Here are video a few




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#2 IRu

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:39 PM

Here is the links to seven parts of the documentary film «The defeat of German forces in Moscow." In the U.S. it is known as "Moscow Strikes Back." 18 front-line operators had been shooting the film since November 1941. Of course, the film exaggerated the positive aspects and reduced the negative. This film was intended to raise general attitude of the Soviet people. In1943 this film won an Oscar as a best documentary film. It was the first Oscar, received Russia
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 1 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 2 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 3 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 4 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 5 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 6 of 7
YouTube - Crushing defeat of the Wehrmacht outside Moscow - 7 of 7

#3 humancertainty

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 03:00 AM

Excellent information and links.
And best wishes to you and your country for this anniversary. The importance of the Battle of Moscow cannot be underestimated.

#4 C.Evans

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:40 PM

Thank you IRu, this is some outstanding things to read and see.
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
:snoopy: :ww1ace:
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#5 Richie B

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 07:35 PM

Fascinating films - thanks for posting the links.

Regards

Richie

#6 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 08:26 PM

If anything, the inability of the Wehrmacht to properly supply their troops outside Moscow was the biggest reason for it not falling. While the Siberian troops gave the Soviets the manpower to make a counter offensive they immolated themselves in the process. German defenses were more hampered by lack of resources and an unwillingness to dig in early as their offensive petered out. 4th Panzer Army alone in AGC weathered the Soviet attack relatively intact because it did exactly that. Stop advancing and dig in for the winter.

#7 LJAd

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 08:39 AM

If anything, the inability of the Wehrmacht to properly supply their troops outside Moscow was the biggest reason for it not falling. While the Siberian troops gave the Soviets the manpower to make a counter offensive they immolated themselves in the process. German defenses were more hampered by lack of resources and an unwillingness to dig in early as their offensive petered out. 4th Panzer Army alone in AGC weathered the Soviet attack relatively intact because it did exactly that. Stop advancing and dig in for the winter.


some dissenting points
1)Moscow was not saved in december 1941,it was already saved before
2)The Siberian troops did not give the Soviets the manpower to make a counter offensive (they only constituted 10 % of the forces of the winteroffensive)
3)The lack of ressources of the Germans (although it was important),was not decisive for the German failure in november (and of course neither the weather):the German failure to capture,in november,Moscow,was due to the resistance of the Soviet forces in november .

#8 Kai-Petri

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:00 AM

Several views on this and I have mine so here it is.. ;)

I do believe the views above all contribute to the fact that Moscow could not be taken by the Germans. However, even if they did, I don´t think it would win the war, but it would definitely be a huge propaganda victory for Germans, not sure if it would lead somewhere.

The main thing in my opinion is that Stalin decided to stay in Moscow. That was the key that made the Russians fight harder as they knew "the boss" would not leave them alone in the battle.Must have been a big dilemma for Stalin but in the end he knew there was not other alternative, I think.
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#9 IRu

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 11:06 AM

Many many thanks to you all for your interest in this topic
I will soon also add my opinion - why the Germans could not take Moscow


#10 LJAd

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 04:36 PM

about the fall of Moscow:
The risk of the capture of Moscow prior november was very small
After november,the military importance was ...very small:ex :if Moscow had fallen on 24 november,the German advance to the east (and it was a long distance from Moscow to the Wolga) would,inevitably,stop at last on 30 november :an advance in the winter was impossible .

#11 efestos

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:30 PM

Moscow was the soviet main, an vital, railway hub. Wasn't it?
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” (George Orwell, 1984)

#12 LJAd

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 09:21 PM

that has been claimed,after the war,by those who were thinking that the socalled "Kiew decision" was a big mistake .But,as Moscow was not captured,we will never know what the results would be of the fall of Moscow .
Whatever,the Germans were disagreeing with you:if you are looking at the planning of Barbarossa,Moscow did not have that big importance :the goal was:the destruction ,as quickly as possible,of the Soviet army ,as much as possible in the west,and thereafter,Moscow would fall without bitter fighting .The endgoal was not Moscow,but the A-A line and the Wolga ,some 800 km east of Moscow ;thus my point that the fall of Moscow in november would not be that important,because the Germans could never get to the Wolga before the winter .

#13 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 09:50 PM

Moscow was the soviet main, an vital, railway hub. Wasn't it?

Efestos;
Yes Moscow was a rail hub and it's capture would have been a severe blow to the Soviet supply net. A fatal blow? Perhaps and perhaps not-as the Axis was having severe supply problems at the time and might not have been able to hold Moscow. More; Battle of Moscow 1941 : Schlacht um Moskau : Hitler : Stalin : Zhukov : Guderian : Blitzkrieg
JeffinMNUSA
PS. And yes Lend Lease (British) played a part in the USSR's Moscow victory, even at this early stage Lend-Lease to Russia: The First Moscow Protocol. June 1941- June 1942. - Total War Center Forums .
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#14 LJAd

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:17 AM

some criticism on the figures of the Total War center:
1) the number of Tanks on 1 december is not very relevant,because Moscow was already saved
2)the TWC gives 6347 tanks ,of which 1400 medium and heavy,my figures (from RKKA) are :59O8 of which 731 medium and heavy
3)the number of 6347 is misleading ,because it is the (inflated) number of all tanks ,including those in the Far East,of the training units,those on transit,.....The only relevant number is that of those of the operational forces:1958 of which 534 medium and heavy .
4)while it is true that the British tanks that were transported to the SU played a role (in the Russian winteroffensive),it is not true that without these British tanks,Moscow would fall ,because
a)the number of British tanks operating on the front during Typhoon was very small
b)the number of Russian (and German ) tanks operating on the front during Typhoon was small :the 1958 Russian tanks were spreaded over the whole front
c)the Germans had on 1 december a (theoretical) tank preponderance :2300 against 1958,theoretical,because,most(?) of the German tanks were not operational .
d)that small number of tanks (some 4300 on 1 december) was not decisive in the failure of Typhoon .And,IMHO(but,that's of topic,the importance of the tank in WWII has been much overstated )

#15 Skipper

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:59 AM

Thanks for showing this aspect to us. Who cares who saved Moscow, whether it was the lack of German equipment the weather, the sacrifice or those brave soldiers from the Belt or more likeky a combination of all those factors. They certainly deserve our deepest respect, especially because when they made the ultimate sacrifice, they had no clew that Russia would eventually win and many soldiers possibly thought they were dying for nothing.
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#16 the_patr1ck

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:07 AM

One should also remember about Hitler's decision to reinforce the attack on Leningrad at the cost of troops advancing towards Moscow. This move certainly weakened the German assault.

#17 LJAd

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 11:30 AM

One should also remember about Hitler's decision to reinforce the attack on Leningrad at the cost of troops advancing towards Moscow. This move certainly weakened the German assault.

??
it was the opposite (in october):AGN and AGS had to give up PD for the attack on Moscow.

#18 IRu

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 02:47 PM

Yes, Moscow is the central railway hub of Russia. In Moscow, at that time, was concentrated the production of parts for aircraft, naval and ground forces, the production of ammunitions. Moscow was the concentration of headquarters and command posts all the armed forces. And this is the state capital.
I doubt that the loss of Moscow could change the course of history, but to make the war longer and increase the number of victims - quite.
In November 1941 the Germans were very close to that goal. I know a lot of examples (many sites, places), when before them there was only one train (one line) of defense. But in early December at the front near Moscow began arriving numerous troops of Red Army. These were the newly formed parts and parts which are transferred from the interior districts of Siberia and the Far East.
So, why did the Germans failed to capture Moscow in late November - early December 1941? Nothing new, no sensation. I will mention a few reasons, which seem to know everybody.

I attach a weight (importance) to every reason, subjectively, in percentage terms.
That's what I got (I tried to be objective):

1. The Germans reached Moscow later than it was in their planes. 50%
In this case there are two main reasons:
A) Resistance of the Red Army proved stronger than expected. 40%
I consider this as a major counter-offensive (Bobruisk, Kiev, Elets, Smolensk), and the resistance of individual soldiers. They are small pockets of resistance led to the fact that the offensive began to lag behind the plan. This is confirmed by the memoirs of Goth, Manstein, Guderian, Halder.
B) Failed to German command. 10%
Hitler's directive of August 21, 1941 has diverted some of the troops from the Moscow direction. The offensive has weakened and delayed for a month.

2. Weather conditions. 20%
First, the mud and slush, then - the severe frosts. These conditions were the same for both armies. But dependence on technology that did not work under these conditions, the Germans have been higher.
Quote from the order of the South-Western Front:
« the enemy is acting on one locality to another. Light summer uniforms of German soldiers and officers are not entirely suited for operations in winter conditions. By virtue of this tactic is often reduced to the German occupation and retention of settlements. In warm cottages, barns, haystacks and ravines hidden enemy, escaping from the cold and snow. Opponent to avoid a long battle in a field outside the settlements»

3. Strategic reserves. 20%
The Germans had underestimated Russia's ability to quickly broken shall complete division recruits. They underestimated the possibility of setting up the production of military equipment (weapons, tanks, ammunition) in seemingly impossible conditions (working women and children in factories were not yet built the roof, and they have already produced products).

4. Rigor, cruelty, stiffness of the top management of the Red Army. 10%.
What would stop the panic and restore order in the management of the troops had to resort to extreme measures. Two typical examples:
September 29, General Kachanov, Commander the 34 th Army was shoot directly for all soldiers. Shot for the retreat.
In November, Acting Commander and Commissar of 133 Infantry Division were shoot directly for all soldiers. http://prikaz054.narod.ru/Prikaz054.html
I found a lot of such examples in memoirs. And soldiers – they were shot for cowardice in general, without any orders or trials. Only in this way managed to stop the panic and unwarranted retreat. It was cruel, but the result was achieved.


In total:

None of the reasons does not outweigh the sum of all the others. The Germans could not take Moscow due to the combination of factors. Most important of which, I believe, the resistance of the Red Army.

Edited by IRu, 09 December 2010 - 06:26 PM.

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#19 lwd

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 03:47 PM

Some also seem to think that just reaching Moscow means that a successful assualt is the next thing on the menu. But wouldn't a successful assault almost require isolating Moscow first? Lenningrad, Stalingrad, and others certainly showed that taking a Soviet city especially one that wasn't isolated was not a trivial affair. Even if the Germans get to Moscow in early October is it likely it would have fallen in 41?

#20 LJAd

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:54 PM

the Germans assumed that if the Russian army was defeated,the fall of Moscow would follow,without bitter fighting ;that's why,in october 1941,they attacked direction Moscow,because the last Russian reserves would be committed to prevent the fall of the city:the aim of Typhoon was not the capture of Moscow,but the elimination of (what the Germans thought were)the last Russian reserves,and this before the winter .
There also is another reason that Moscow was saved ;to put it bluntly:there were more Russians on the front in december than in june:4.56 million against 3.05 million and there were less Germans in december than in june :2.5 million against 2.7 million

#21 JeffinMNUSA

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:12 PM

Yes, Moscow is the central railway hub of Russia. In Moscow, at that time, was concentrated the production of parts for aircraft, naval and ground forces, the production of ammunitions. Moscow was the concentration of headquarters and command posts all the armed forces. And this is the state capital.
I doubt that the loss of Moscow could change the course of history, but to make the war longer and increase the number of victims - quite.
In November 1941 the Germans were very close to that goal. I know a lot of examples (many sites, places), when before them there was only one train (one line) of defense. But in early December at the front near Moscow began arriving numerous troops of Red Army. These were the newly formed parts and parts which are transferred from the interior districts of Siberia and the Far East.
So, why did the Germans failed to capture Moscow in late November - early December 1941? Nothing new, no sensation. I will mention a few reasons, which seem to know everybody.

I attach a weight (importance) to every reason, subjectively, in percentage terms.
That's what I got (I tried to be objective):

1. The Germans reached Moscow later than it was in their planes. 50%
In this case there are two main reasons:
A) Resistance of the Red Army proved stronger than expected. 40%
I consider this as a major counter-offensive (Bobruisk, Kiev, Elets, Smolensk), and the resistance of individual soldiers. They are small pockets of resistance led to the fact that the offensive began to lag behind the plan. This is confirmed by the memoirs of Goth, Manstein, Guderian, Halder.
B) Failed to German command. 10%
Hitler's directive of August 21, 1941 has diverted some of the troops from the Moscow direction. The offensive has weakened and delayed for a month.

2. Weather conditions. 20%
First, the mud and slush, then - the severe frosts. These conditions were the same for both armies. But dependence on technology that did not work under these conditions, the Germans have been higher.
Quote from the order of the South-Western Front:
« the enemy is acting on one locality to another. Light summer uniforms of German soldiers and officers are not entirely suited for operations in winter conditions. By virtue of this tactic is often reduced to the German occupation and retention of settlements. In warm cottages, barns, haystacks and ravines hidden enemy, escaping from the cold and snow. Opponent to avoid a long battle in a field outside the settlements»

3. Strategic reserves. 20%
The Germans had underestimated Russia's ability to quickly broken shall complete division recruits. They underestimated the possibility of setting up the production of military equipment (weapons, tanks, ammunition) in seemingly impossible conditions (working women and children in factories were not yet built the roof, and they have already produced products).

4. Rigor, cruelty, stiffness of the top management of the Red Army. 10%.
What would stop the panic and restore order in the management of the troops had to resort to extreme measures. Two typical examples:
September 29, General Kachanov, Commander the 34 th Army was shoot directly for all soldiers. Shot for the retreat.
In November, Acting Commander and Commissar of 133 Infantry Division were shoot directly for all soldiers. http://prikaz054.narod.ru/Prikaz054.html
I found a lot of such examples in memoirs. And soldiers – they were shot for cowardice in general, without any orders or trials. Only in this way managed to stop the panic and unwarranted retreat. It was cruel, but the result was achieved.


In total:

None of the reasons does not outweigh the sum of all the others. The Germans could not take Moscow due to the combination of factors. Most important of which, I believe, the resistance of the Red Army.


IRU;
I would also factor in the terrain around Moscow (Ivan the Terrible chose his Capitol wisely!). http://grognard.com/bfm/map.pdf
Hitler planned to encircle Moscow-as opposed to getting into a bloody city slugfest-and throttle the Soviet state at it's source. Could have a German ring around Moscow have held? Possibly before the decision to attack SOUTH (but then of course Hitler would hav e had to have left the Minsk Armies intact and they could perhaps have launched a flank attack).
But after the Minsk battles and the Rasputitsa; what with Winter setting on, the Axis supply lines badly overextended, the Axis forces badly depleted, the Soviet Eastern forces moving into position up the Trans Siberian railroad, and the horror stories about massacres of POWs and civilians in the occupied territories gaining real word of mouth credibility? Doubtfull...
Also I would add veterans- those bolder soldiers of the Barbarossa slaughters who chose to strike off on their own overland for friendly lines rather than be caught in the nets. http://en.wikipedia....e_of_Kiev_(1941)
I am fairly certain these scenarios have been played in the defense computers in Moscow and Washington and perhaps we will see the results in a generation or two.
JEffinMNUSA

Edited by JeffinMNUSA, 11 December 2010 - 04:14 PM.

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#22 Volga Boatman

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 12:15 AM

You guys have it all wrong....

It was the tireless efforts of our fearless leader, Stalin, that saved the front, the city, the country, and the revolution itself.

Let us all please stand and give many minutes of applause for the Chairman of the Party of Workers and Peasants, our Maximum Leader....UNCLE JOE.

Dissenting opinions please leave the auditorioum by the back entrance, where our security forces will be waiting to deal with the problem.
Llamas are bigger than frogs.:cool:

#23 LRusso216

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 02:49 AM

You guys have it all wrong....

It was the tireless efforts of our fearless leader, Stalin, that saved the front, the city, the country, and the revolution itself.

Let us all please stand and give many minutes of applause for the Chairman of the Party of Workers and Peasants, our Maximum Leader....UNCLE JOE.

Dissenting opinions please leave the auditorioum by the back entrance, where our security forces will be waiting to deal with the problem.

What is the purpose of this post? If you don't have something positive to contribute, don't post.

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#24 ANZAC

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 05:52 AM

No doubt why December 5th should be celebrated in Russia, stopping the seemingly invincible Wehrmacht in it's tracks in December '41 was the first step in the long hard road to Berlin for the Red Army.

As others have already stated there's a myriad of reasons as to why the Wehrmacht was fortunately stopped at the gates of Moscow, but I'd probably go along with Erickson in 'The Road To Stalingrad' who says, in the end it's probably the amazing resilience and unbreakable will of the ordinary Russian soldier, [who abysmally led from the top down, & went through a slaughter that would have probably broken any country in the World] took in all on & gradually turned it around & eventually ended up in Berlin.



On Stalin's impact on the Soviets war effort.

Although he sits jowl by jowl with his partner in crime Hitler as the worst of the worst & there's hardly a redeeming feature about him, [& was a millstone around the Red Army's neck early in the war] but by launching a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization, it's strongly possible he enabled the USSR to survive against the Nazis [even though the upheaval in the agricultural sector disrupted food production, resulting in widespread famine & death]

By 1937, 80% of Russian industrial output came from plants built since 1928.


And Laurence Rees on.....What Was the Turning Point of World War II? » HistoryNet........

Rees cites Moscow as the turning point of WW2, but thinks October was the crucial date & Stalin played a major part.

In Moscow at that time, there was an atmosphere of pure terror & panic in the Soviet capital, for it seemed almost inevitable that the Germans would arrive in a matter of days, if not hours, & the Government led by Stalin was on the verge of bolting.

Lees goes on to say.......''which leaves us to answer the vital question—what would have happened if Stalin had boarded that train on October 16, 1941, and had made a run for it? Well, having looked at the documents and met many veterans who fought in the defense of Moscow, I am convinced that if Stalin had left Moscow, the Soviet capital would have fallen. Stalin would have been disgraced, his authority fatally damaged. As a consequence, the Soviets would have then made peace with the Germans. There was, after all, a precedent for this. In March 1918 the fledgling Soviet Communist government had signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which had given away to the Germans huge amounts of territory, including Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States.

That's why October 16, 1941, gets my vote as the turning point of the war—probably the turning point of the 20th century, because if the Soviets had left the war in the autumn of 1941 it's hard to see how the Nazis could ever have been dislodged from Europe without nuclear weapons.

But I don't necessarily expect you to agree. Not for one minute. For, as I said, argument is one of the great pleasures of history.''

I think Laurence certainly got that last bit right.

BTW, some of the views by historians on the turning Points of World War II, don't seem to make much sense, eg, a German historian stating the Allied decision not to bomb Auschwitz was the key turning point, & Overlord for instance, others go for Pearl Harbour etc.

#25 ANZAC

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 06:10 AM

Apologies for the double post.

I tried to correct the double 'Red' army at top off the post, but all I got was a double post with the same problem about the 'Red' army.

If someone could delete one post [ and one ''Red'' army, I'd be most obliged]

Think I may need a new computer.




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