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

Why did Operation Barbarossa fail ?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by KiwiTT, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. panzer kampf gruppen 6

    panzer kampf gruppen 6 Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    2
    It's simple just like throughout history over confidence and the winter plus the Germans did not have the man power they only had 80million people and Germans losses got to heavy that the could not replace them as easly as the russains. Not to mention the growing resistence fighters behind german lines and of course the L word logistics russai was simply to big!!!
     
  2. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267
    One of the biggest problems was that Hitler believed the soviets sub human, and therefore not only underestimated there strength, but also there courage, determination, will power and there love for your motherland. The Soviets may have reeled back by the initial attack by the Germans, but the Soviets were unprepared for that attack, but it is clearly evident that once the Soviets committed themselves to war, there was no stopping them.

    Other reasons for the failure are simply that the Soviet Union was too large for a short scale war, the Germans were never going to be able to face the Soviets while they were already committed on two other fronts, especially in the man power, and industrial power regards, to steal a term from the Pacific war, the Germans simply awoke a sleeping Giant.
     
  3. panzer kampf gruppen 6

    panzer kampf gruppen 6 Dishonorably Discharged

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    2
    Not to mention they had a massive factorys that were putting out more guns and tanks than America.
     
  4. tovarisch

    tovarisch Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    16
    Tomcat, slight spelling mistake, that should have been 'love for their motherland' :) Otherwise it makes the meaning weird.

    I totally agree with you, and maybe that quote from the Pacific is even more appliable on the Eastern Front, I'm surprised that no one has actually used that in relation tho the Soviet Union. Thank you for not attributing the German failure in ther Eastern campaign only to the 'harsh weather conditions' and 'large territorial expansion of the USSR', like many people in the West tend to do.
     
  5. Koenig

    Koenig recruit

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    There are a lot of reasons which explain the defeat in Russia but one of the most important is the change of the attitude to combat of enemy soldier. For instance, in France units that was surrounded they surrendered but in Russia, Soviet surrounded units fought tenacious that's why Germans had to involve a lot of troops in each pocket of resistance and they wasted a valuable time and it got heavy casualties. Moreover, it caused points of resistance in the German rearguard.
    Herr </SPAN>
     
    KiwiTT likes this.
  6. marc780

    marc780 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    55
    Leaders like Hitler are the main reason why every sensible society in history, has been very careful never to combine both political and military power in the hands of only one man. If such leaders, including others throughout history like Napoleon, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein happen to have both complete power and warlike intentions, the result is almost always disaster.

    Most high ranking German officers had fought in the first World War, and some had fought against the Tzarist Army on the Eastern front. They knew the geographic obstacles, the immense distances and the large population would prove very formidable, if not completely impossible obstacles to any German attempt to conquer Russia.

    Hitler's grand scheme was ambitious but seemed attainable to the Nazis in 1941, German forces were to conquer Russia as far east as an imaginary line drawn almost straight south from archangel to the Chinese border. The remaining Russians would be allowed to survive in eastern Russia and Siberia as best they could, and a permanent "Winter line" fortified wall built the whole length to keep the russians out of their own country for good.

    When informed of the planning for Operation Barbarossa, many of the Generals chose to keep their mouths shut in deference to Hitler, but many also strongly spoke out against the idea. (Compared to Stalin, Hitler was much more open-minded when listening to the opinions of his General Staff.) If Germany had been run by committee, safe to say they'd probably have vetoed the whole insane idea, but Germany was of course run completely by one man, Adolf Hitler.
     
  7. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    267

    I agree that he would listen, just don't tell him it is a bad idea:D
     
  8. sdf

    sdf Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    2
    Operatiom Barbarossa failed because it was unrealistic from its beginning. There were no directions in SU which could lead Hitler to sucsess.
     
  9. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Russian resolve and strategic reserves far stronger than anticipated, poor logistical planning, lost of operational focus and the robustness of Soviet munitions industry. They thought the Russians would collapse like it was 1917, they were wrong.
     
    Gerard and Jaeger like this.
  10. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    There are two schools of thought on this: Glantz, who asserts that the Russians were too powerful and Operation Barbarossa was doomed to failure. The other alternative is to hold the waste of time around Kiev and the Soviet winter counterstroke responsible for the defeat. Take your pick, but as one very grizzled veteran told me, if the Germans made it to Moscow--guess where they would be defending themselves against the Winter Offensive? Yeah, Siberia!
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    For the unorthodox view, here's is an awesome article broken up in several parts.

     
    JagdtigerI and KiwiTT like this.
  12. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Part II

     
    KiwiTT likes this.
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Part III

    Thank S-2 from World Affairs Board to make this fascinating material available.
     
    KiwiTT likes this.
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    Isn't that Stolpi ?:eek::eek:
     
  15. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,599
    Likes Received:
    230
    Quite likely--but I don't read Ruskie! Some body else post it somewhere else. :)
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    Well,I have seen a number of very harsh critiques on Stolpi.
    Some minor points of critique on his texts :
    1)the German loss figures were given by decade :1-10 july,etc.
    Thus I am curious how he coulg get loss figures for 3 and 16 july .
    2)I am suspicious on his estimates for the Russian losses
    3)His figures of German tank losses are wrong :much to low
    4)His figures of German losses till 1 september are wrong :not 275000,but 410000
    There are also more fundamental critiques,but I don't want to hijack thge thread (perish the thought ;) )
     
  17. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    20
    No doubt there were many reasons for the Wehrmacht failing in Barbarossa....

    As mentioned, poor logistics was a major factor, breaking the Red Army at the Dnieper-Divina river was critical, because beyond that point logistical constraints on the German army were binding.

    Van Creveld says that fundamentally the Heer was a 'poor' army, not in the sense that they were not a crack outfit, but that the fast striking Panzer/mobile element of the German army in '41 was just a small percentage of the Heer, the vast majority moved as the German army did in WW1, at walking pace, they needed some 700,000 horses to help move guns & equipment.

    And the German army was not poor in motor transport because it had neglected to prepare properly, it was poor because of the incomplete industrial and economic development of Germany itself, according to Tooze.

    And the continued interference by Hitler must be a factor, Manstein [among others] grumbled that 'all this chopping & changing will get us nowhere' and Hitler ordering Guderian to turn his Panzergruppe South to Kiev instead of heading for Moscow as Guardian wanted, will be debated forever, plus Russia's deadly ally, ''General Winter,'' all contributed to the German failure, but bottom line it was probably the amazing resilience of the ordinary Soviet soldier..... Alan Clark, in his book on BARBAROSSA, describes the Russian-German conflict of 1941-1945 as the greatest land battle mankind has ever fought & sums up the average Red Army trooper...Abominably led, inadequately trained, poorly equipped, he changed the course of history by his courage and tenacity in the 1st year of fighting.


    And they weren't just Russians, [Ukraine alone suffered 2.5 million military and 4.5 million civilian deaths or a total loss of 7 million, some put the figures higher.]

    But even allowing for their mistakes the Germans must have thought what do you have to do to win, Red Army casualties in the first three months of Barbarossa were 2,817,303, & by December were 4,473,820 plus the VVS was virtually destroyed & the Soviet tank park the same.

    Over half of its economic base was in German hands. But Russia was still strong. It had 9 million men of military age left, [enough for 400 divisions] Germany could not match these numbers. A sustained battle of attrition strongly favored Russia.

    [Although OKW claimed that in it's first thrust the Wehrmacht would be able to seize control of at least 70% of the SU industrial potential this would render long term resistance by the Red Army hopeless.] But OKW didn't take into account the remarkable Soviet relocation of men & material behind the Urals, it's an amazing story in it's self in that it was probably one of the greatest migrations in history, & it enabled the SU to out produce Germany in the vital years of the war.
     
    Triple C and brndirt1 like this.
  18. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Excellent summary ANZAC, the logistics problem the Nazis faced was massive and poorly addressed.
     
  19. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    Many causes....Weather, Supply lines, Luftwaffe being needed on the western front as well as n. africa...they are almost endless...
     
  20. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    20
    Some interesting articles about German logistics and other problems from an Osprey book site........

    Hitler effectively had two armies in 1939: a modern core of panzer divisions and infantry formations with motor transport columns and vehicle-drawn heavy weapons, plus an unmechanized mass of infantry divisions. Even that degree of modernization was achieved by pressing captured Czech tanks into service in 1940. More were added after the fall of France. The number of panzer divisions was doubled, but only by the expedient of reducing them to one tank regiment each.

    Attrition in Russia.
    Two-thirds of the German infantry divisions ordered into Russia in 1941 were unmechanized. Their wagons were hitched to German draught horses that proved unable to survive the poor fodder and winter weather in Russia; farms all over Europe were scoured for replacements, but only eastern European ponies could endure the climate. German vehicles fared little better, even in the glory days of 1941, POL (Petrol, oil and lubricants) consumption soared. On Russia's dirt roads vehicles required up to four times as much fuel per mile as on western European metalled highways. Wear and tear on vehicles, even when Soviet resistance crumbled, saw the panzer divisions leave a trail of broken down tanks in their wake.

    Three problems emerged.
    Firstly, the German army had a hopelessly inadequate transport fleet. There were just three transport regiments, with 6,600 vehicles and a total capacity of 19,000 tons to ship supplies from the railheads to the front-line units: more than 150 divisions on a 1800 km front. (By comparison, the Allied forces in France during 1944 had a transport fleet with a capacity of nearly 70,000 tons to supply 47 divisions and the universal complaint was 'lack of trucks'.) The railheads advanced very slowly in Russia as the track gauge had to be altered to conform with German rolling stock.

    Secondly, Operation Barbarossa was undertaken with the proceeds of the biggest auto theft in history. German mechanization had been increased, not just by adding the Pz.38(t) tank from the famous Skoda works, but by seizing vehicles from all over occupied Europe. The consequence was that the invading forces were using over 2,000 different types of vehicle, few sharing common parts. This problem never went away, despite the loss of so many vehicles in the winter of 1941-42. For instance, I Flak Corps had 260 different German vehicles on its strength in 1943 and 120 foreign types. In many cases, the corps had just one or two vehicles of each kind. German army film footage from the Battle of the Bulge shows a German vehicle column with the latest German tanks followed by 1930s Citroen trucks. Even the elite SS formations were not immune: 12th SS Panzerdivision Hitlerjugend relied on reconditioned Italian lorries when it went into battle in Normandy.

    Thirdly, German industry could not keep pace with the losses, let alone produce enough modern vehicles to end the army's reliance on captured old ones...................

    Military professionalism, economic amateurism.
    The German economy had been geared to expect war in the mid- to late-1940s. Worse, it was theoretically subject to a four-year plan, supervised by Hitler's veteran henchman, Hermann Göring. 'I know nothing of economics,' was the only accurate statement in his opening address to German industrialists. His assertion that he knew 'only will' was equally questionable: having committed the Luftwaffe to supplying 6th Army by air in November 1942 he vanished to Paris.

    In reality the German wartime economy was a mess of competing and overlapping bureaucracies. Nazi officials jockeyed for position. A sharp pair of elbows was required in what Hitler viewed as a Darwinian struggle for survival; but the fittest did not survive, just the corrupt and self-serving. Albert Speer imposed some much needed central direction from his appointment in 1942, but the Russians had been granted breathing space to relocate their industry.........



    I guess it says a lot for the Wehrmacht that they got as far as they did with the problems they had.
    But on the other hand it wasn't a bed of roses for their opponents either in '41, a gutted Red Army led by the Generalissimo & his cronies.
     
    KiwiTT and Tomcat like this.

Share This Page