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Guderians turn south

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by steverodgers801, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    I had a thought, when Hitler refused to continue towards Moscow and insisted on going south, the German plan was to split up the PZ group, one part south and one part east. Guderian refused to have his group split up, because he was afraid he would not get that part back. I wonder if he insisted on taking the whole group south as a bluff, thinking Hitler would then change his mind. When Hitler agreed Guderian was then stuck and couldn't or wouldn't agree to the split
     
  2. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    I think Guderian was more concerned with annihilation than ownership. He knew what could happen.
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Guderian was pretty upset that actually he was going backwards instead of forward to make the pocket closed. Then again most of the German troops were in need of rest and supplies even if there was only 320 kms to Moscow and no defence to mention when the Hitler order to take Kiev was given.

    I believe that the biggest mistake as von Bock in his diary says that there was no real plan after Smolensk how to continue. The Generals believed it was Moscow, but Hitler said " Leningrad", then "Kiev", and finally "Moscow"... Just thinking how much time and effort went into moving troops and armor to attack those far apart goals.

    Just like Ike had said "Paris", "Nice" and "Copenhagen" in 1944
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    As Guderian told it in his postwar memoir Panzer Leader, he asked to take his entire panzer group south after being told that that was Hitler's final decision. If he had to do it, he wanted to get it done as surely and promptly as possible, so as to get ready for further operations. He probably also wanted to have his full force available when they were able to resume the advance eastward.

    As has been pointed out before, the Germans could have continued the advance on Moscow simultaneously with the Kiev operation had they not directed their northern thrust against Leningrad. In this scenario the destruction of Soviet forces on the southern flank would be supportive of and secondary to the advance in the center, and it would make sense to reassign one of Guderian's three panzer corps to PzG 3 or 4 for the main operation.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    "By 31 August Model´s third panzer Division was down to just 34 serviceable tanks, while Langermann-Erlancamp´s 4th panzer division possessed 52. This made a combined total of 86 tanks-less than half of 3rd Panzer divisions starting total on 22 June 1941. Thus given that Lemelsen´s XXXXVII Pz Corps was entirely directed towards protecting Guderian´s long left flank, it is no exaggeration to conclude that Guderian´s offensive- the most important being undertaken on the eastern front at that time- was being pushed forward by the equivalent strength of half a panzer division. "

    Stahel Kiev 1941

    ----------------------

    One must also recall that the Red Army was attacking heavily in the AGN and AGC front, and Bock even asked on 28 August from Halder " What should I do if as a result the front collapses?" as AGC was weakened by troop movements to other fronts.


    On 29 August Halder told Bock on the phone " If one plays with fire, it is not surprising that as a result he gets burned"...

    Stahel Kiev 1941
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    wow! what a big, serious, ''chess'' game!
     
  7. arca

    arca Member

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    Generally speaking it was a mistake, but in reality lands beyond Dnepr-Dvina line were in intelligence sense a true terra incognita for the Germans. In such circumstances it was very hard to have any fixed plans. Germans believed that Soviet army would be destroyed west of Dniepr-Dvina line,so further plans were irrelevant or in case new moment arose, the plans to deal with this new situation would me made when these new realities presented themselves. By mid July army group center destroyed armies of soviet first strategic defensive belt (3rd,4th and 10th) and penetrated second strategic belt, while shattering it's armies (13th,16th,19th,20th,21st,22nd) and surrounding what was left of them north of Smolensk.Thus AGC completed it's task in exemplary fashion and the road to Moscow should've been open. Yet 2nd and 3rd panzer groups who held the outer ring of Smolensk encirclement were again attacked from the east by new wave of soviet armies(29th,30th,19th and 24th).Panzer groups were forced to fight defensive static battles without infantry support for three weeks as it took that long for the infantry of AGC to reduce stubborn defense of surrounded Red army around Smolensk. These battles greatly sapped panzer forces, demonstrating their vulnerability if deprived of infantry support and most important if deprived of their superior mobility.
    So, AGC was engaged in heavy static battles of attrition with previously unknown forces of 3rd strategic defensive belt, and AGN and AGS were still far behind, fighting forces of second strategic belt. When in such circumstances Hitler said Leningrad and Kiev before Moscow,it doesn't seem so misguided to me at all. With these decisions he finally employed AGC's panzer groups in their natural role - that is to use their maneuverability, bypass areas of massed enemy resistance( this was clearly in that moment area to the east of Smolensk) and exploit enemy's rear. Also this greatly aided AGN and AGS's efforts (their commanders supported Hitler in his reshuffling of forces) as AGN finally broke through soviet second echalon only when PG 3 arrived to it's aid and AGS destroyed soviet SW front only after PG 2 came to it's aid.The alternative was AGN and AGS losing momentum and AGC throwing itself in the teeth of maximum enemy activity (Soviets reinforced their central sector by the end of August with million! new troops) ,with both flanks non existent and ever widening. AGC panzer forces were already around 50% strength and next mistake would probably render them useless and Barbarosa itself with them. IMO Soviets greatly influenced Hitler's hand by ultimately employing seven armies to press AGC hard and as Glantz said it 'derailed Barbarossa'.
     
  8. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    This is why Guderian's claims of being able to win the war on his own with out worrying about flanks is pure rubbish.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    If the Red Army had had a main striking point they would have destroyed and penetrated deep into the German rear. Attacking everywhere was definitely making the Germans send troops everywhere, but only German propaganda was saying things were going well. In my opinion changing the main object every two months was just making more tanks broken and losing valuable fuel, while not getting any true victories like taking Leningrad etc. So both sides were doing the same childish mistake in action as I see it. And Germans made the bigger mistake, the same troops fighting since June 22nd with minor new troops and armor, while the Soviet troops, even often with little or none military practice, were fresh in the battlefield. For instance Stalin send a whole lot of students from Moscow to attack the Germans, who were wiped out by the Germans but losing ammo and men was worse for the Germans. The Red Army rule " take at least one with you" is practically the sad rule but worked for the Red Army. Wonder if the same rule had been told to the Allied troops in the west. Go and die but take one German with you.

    Germans were never winning, like someone from the Stavka said to Stalin " You might have to retreat all the way to Siberia but you still wil in the end".
     
  10. arca

    arca Member

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    Agreed, not to mention logistical limitations. German logistic capabilities for drive on Moscow were insuficient even in october yet alone in july-august( stockpiling forward supply dumps,regaging rails, building additional facilities requiered! for german rolling stock to operate etc).
    Still if somehow,Bock did manage to take Moscow in August it would've been succes of paramount importance, with potential to maybe win the game for the nazis. Apart from being first class political and moral boosting factor, essential rail hub of entire europian USSR, without which lateral as well as rear-front(east-west) movement of armies would be very hard, IMO Moscow's main importance was as mobilization center. USSR beeing highly centralised state, enabled organisational, manpower, infrastructural, economical, industrial and other assets to be massed in Moscow, thus providing means for 15! new armies to be raised in and around Moscow in first 6 months alone. Of course all this was beyond german calculations or even their wildest imagination, but losing such center IMO would have dire consequences for soviet war effort.

    This is also very true point about tear and wear of panzer forces, but the effort was seen as justified. Was it realy? Hard to tell.
    This desperate nature and fight to the death (die and take at least one with you) is one of the main reasons why so many, me including are continuously fascinated with the war in the east.
    If I remember corectly those words ( about withrowing to the Urals and still wining) were said to Stalin by bulgarian ambasador in Moscow, who was also a soviet agent. It happened during darkest days of July when Stalin's courage was wavering and he was feeling the options of possible separate peace with Germany. Bulgaria would've been a canal of communication, yet this Bulgarian contradicted Stalin and fueled him with some of his courage.
     

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