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When was German victory impossible?


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Postby Totenkopf » Mon Dec 29, 2003 5:20 am

Becasue Army Group Centre was practicly crippled after Kursk, and A.G.S had that extra beating. Their tanks were blasted away and they lost plenty of men. A defensive line would have worked and could have held the Russians off till reinforcements reached Russia.

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Postby TheDuke » Mon May 03, 2004 4:50 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I also believed that Germany could of taken Moscow, but would that of been enough? Soviet Union could of operated from other major cities, far behind the Urals. Soviet Union would of remained united even after Moscow and Hitler's Germany simply didn't have enough resources to drive all the way to Vladivostok.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

I have done allot of reasearch on operation barbarrossa (got a stack of book) and with all the big historian brains no one has ever come up with this most brilliant version. Hitlers plan was to 'kick down the rotton house' by eliminating all westward armies in one big swoop (which he did). However, the overwhelming arrogance of the German leadership, slow decision making (and adjustment) process mean they wasted allot of valuable days here and there.... but given the incredible tenacity and will to protect the mother land even if they had taken all of the cities in all of Russia with the extreem vastness of the country organised partisan activieis would have destroyed the army (look at the prblems Americans face it quite a small desterst stricken place!).

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Postby doctor jeep » Mon May 03, 2004 8:27 pm

you know, the big problem with victory conditions for the third reich is that there really wasnt any. it was based on an idea of perpetual war. they'd have kept on invading stuff until their empire got too big to sustain itself, the seeds of its own destruction were sown when hitler was elected.

saying that, they certainly did give everyone rather a fright.

my view of barbarossa:
I think the moment you can pin down and say "germany now has definitely lost" is a bit earlier than other opinions here. I'd put it down as early as 1941, when the USSR stopped guderian's attacks on moscow at the yelnia salient.

A lot of the problems that historians have with barbarossa is that the soviets were very secretive about their war plans, and just as secretive about their decision making process. Most historians had full access to the third reich's archive, which slanted their view of things immensely. Also, there was cold war politics: the propaganda disseminated then is still taken for granted even now.

Most historians like to think of themselves as being quasi-scientific, but in reality they are nothing of the sort, and most of the history books i have read about barbarossa say some very self-contradictory things. basically a historian picks out a politically motivated argument and then trawls around dusty old volumes for the proof of it. very few think things through particularly well.

anyway, that'll be an end to my rant about "historians"!

It has come to light that in 1940 a series of wargames were held to test the theories of armoured warfare and the best method of halting the Nazi advance. the russians had read up on german forces doctrine, knew the disposition of their troops and had seen them in action.

the plan they (zhukov and timoshenko) came up with was to have germany take pavlov's armies as a poisoned chalice. by necessity liquidating those armies would leave the wehrmacht overstretched and vulnerable to counter-attack. (it would also enable them to have pavlov shot!).

by the time the wehrmacht had got itself in a position to attack moscow it was too light on fuel, and the infantry had been separated from the panzers. they were counterattacked at yelnia and fell back in disarray, never again having the wherewithal to attack moscow.

From that point on the high command decided that it would go for easier pickings, thus ensuring the final liquidation of nazi germany. Much of the blame for the failure of barbarossa is rested on hitler's shoulders and while it is true that attacking ussr was a dumb thing to do, the wehrmacht lost because it was out-thought and out-fought by an enemy who didnt mind losing millions of its citizens and thousands of square miles of its territory in order to accomplish a long range strategic goal.
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Postby TheDuke » Tue May 04, 2004 1:20 pm

I like your point about historians... come up with an idea and then spend the next 50 years trying to prove it... [;)]

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">you know, the big problem with victory conditions for the third reich is that there really wasnt any. it was based on an idea of perpetual war. they'd have kept on invading stuff until their empire got too big to sustain itself. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

bingo! And with 80 million people at their disposal (even if by force and/or indoctrination) of which only a subset could be a fighting force this was going to go very horribly wrong.

What is interresting is that the Germans placed blind faith in that one man - when he proclaimed the impossible they believed him and the successfull invasion of France only bolstered and speeded up the madness. Every move was bigger and bolder with higher odds!

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I'd put it down as early as 1941, when the USSR stopped guderian's attacks on moscow at the yelnia salient.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

A man that has done his homework... [8D]... this is where we get into the failure of the barbarossa campain... it is my view that the single biggest failure was the period of indecision where a week was lost here and there. The most important ponit was the every senior army general was convinced that the war was won (as early as October -Indeed Goebels proclaimed to the German nation that it had) and this arrogance and subsequent infighing betwee nthe General seriously underminde the campain.

But again, and as you said, if we go back to the long term strategy of Das Reich, Russia was not sustainable.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">the wehrmacht lost because it was out-thought and out-fought by an enemy <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Well, not quite - but unlike the germans the Russians where eager to learn from their mistakes.

As for their strategy of deep battle, this was not re-introduced until 42 and when it was it was badly executed. And this was only done cause Stalins NOT ONE INCH got huge armies encircled and destroyed (the irony here being that Hitler did the same thing which is why the winter of 41 was so horrific for the german soldier).

Anyhow, who am I telling... you know all that..

Great to chat with someone who has thought about this stuff! [:)]

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Postby doctor jeep » Sun May 16, 2004 2:48 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">every senior army general was convinced that the war was won <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
yes! too much blame was placed on hitler, whereas the war was lost long before he started micromanaging. in fact, he micro-managed (with of course obvious consequences) as a direct result of the mistakes of the high command. its very annoying how some western oxbridge historians confuse cause and effect.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">As for their strategy of deep battle, this was not re-introduced until 42<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
no, it was actually the foundation stone of their entire strategy from the start. the idea was that by enticing the wehrmacht to encircle pavlovs armies the USSR could separate the infantry from the panzers from the luftwaffe. thus de-integrating the unstoppable blitzkrieg. Really it was the only defence at the time, and the best. guderians spearhead was decimated at yelnia and it would take months before it could be repaired, and the infantry brought up. by which time, the russians would have even more of their heavy artillery and tanks.

Historians notice the numbers. so, in the first few months x000 planes were bombed, x0000 tanks were lost etc. in those statistics quality isnt an issue. pavlovs armies had only the **** stuff, the best was kept in reserve.

the thing is, all this is on historical record as being part of the war-games of early '41 (pre barbarossa), when zhukov and timoshenko set out their plans for defence of Russia (it didnt take a genius to realise that germany was gonna attack russia) :/

a few things didnt go to plan. the wehrmacht did a lot better than russia thought it would and they didnt plan for soem eventualities like the swing to the south etc. but in the end they are just details. The war was lost before it started really, because the russians out-thought the germans.

lets put it this way: play against a russian or a german chess player :)
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Postby TheDuke » Mon May 17, 2004 12:44 pm

great to hear from you again Dr. Jeep - there are only a few threads where I eagerly await a responce and this is one of them!

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">he micro-managed <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

it is indeed amasing of how many attach full blame (and I've read this in quite a few books) is attached to Hitler... and as you said, he stepped in when things went wrong


<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">The war was lost before it started really, because the russians out-thought the germans.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

now this is interresting - where do you get your information from. It may be that the Russians had a plan but in 41 that in no way looked apparent given that most armies where forward based (and just waiting to be encircled)? I am a little confused here as Guderian was dying to make a charge for Moscow - on his own if needed be - I know there was some serious depletion but not decimation?

Do let me know your source - as there is little are accurate sources from the Russian side (as it's all gone through the propaganda machine at some stage).

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Postby Edpow1 » Mon May 17, 2004 3:37 pm

Certainly the international doctrine to halting Blitzkrieg was to either stop it in its tracks, or wait for it to pass over, then counter attack into the supply lines, which in Russia, with such large fronts, would have been easy to do - the Brits did this near Arras and decimated a convoy of German infanftry before running into a load of brand new 75mm German ATGs that were unluckily passing through the area - had these not been there then the Brits would have cut the German Panzers off from their supplies, forcing a u turn to retake the road from Germany for supplies, before they could push on and finish the BEF at Dunquirke.

Russian tactics are interesting, they were certainly bemused by the ferocity of the German attack, and the sheer skill of many of the highly trained spearhead units who were managing to destroy entire shock armies at an alarming rate, but Soviet military high command, like the Germans, relied on getting rid of rubbish generals/ those seen as incompetent in the eyes of the leader, and makjing public examples, hence the purging of the general staff, yet Stalin and Timchenko noticably remain, despite the early defeats, when everyone else goes, either Stalin liked them, or they had a plan which Stalin thought would work, so they were not dismissed, admittedly Zhukov led some skilled defence work across the Russian front, but the failure of the 1941 winter offensive to smash the Germans, using elite Siberian troops armed with T34s, was either a major error by Stalin, sending in all his troops once the gains where no longer possible, or Zhukov's inability to finish off the Germans, but if the latter was true he would not still be in command in 42 - the way I see it Zhukov must have had some plan, or he simply wouldn't have lasted so long in the Soviet High Command, post war accounts make credit Stalin for many of Zhukov's victories, implying that his defeats were also caused by meddling Unlce Joe.

I don't think that the Soviets had a plan to stop the Blitzkrieg that was well thought out, certainly they had a method, but only worked loosely towards this, and were helped by German indecision, e.g. one minute sending Panzers for Kiev, the next sending them to Moscow, but the Germans were never facing the elite soviet troops, admitedly they were guarding the East from Japan, and the fiercest resistance to the Germans came from the Ukraine where the ebst Russian armies were placed, to secure the food, and also to attempt to use the "counter attack once you have been passed over" routine, hoping for a decisive blow into the weaker underbelly of the German forces, but this never really happened due to the push to Stalingrad.

Certainly I don't think the Germans were ever going to win the war in Russia once the Russians held them up on a defensive line for 4 weeks in July/August, they simply were never going to take the key strategic areas after this.

The myth of Soviet industry outweighing German industry is interesting, production of armaments in Russia only overtook the Germans in late 1943, just the Germans were building random high tech units, the Russians built one size fits all unit types, and were producing new tanks and planes to simply replace their old ones, the Germans did them a favour in destroying the old stock for them. A economy goes into ruin if they only produce fighting goods, and so there is a saturation point for any force, where the can only have XX 000 planes and tanks at any one time, the Germans simply wasted time destroying the old stock of Soviet tanks and planes allowing them to lower their saturation levels, and produce newer, better tanks. To highlight the point, USSR could theoretically support say 10 000 tanks at any one time, keeping them working, fuelled, armed, crewed. If 8 000 of those are crappy BT tanks based on the early 30s designs, it is impossible just to get rid of them, so sending them into battle to be destroyed buys the Soviets time, and allows them to replenish their armies with better tanks, e.g. the T34s and Su85s, and SU 100s which did the bulk of the fighting.

With aviation in 1941 Germans destroyed over 18 000 Soviet aircraft, mostly on the ground, soviet industry produced over 15000 new aircraft in 3 months alone towards the end of 1941, simply because they now had space in the armed forces for new planes once the old ones had gone. Sounds a bit silly, but there were lumbered with their old technology.

Once tank battles become the obvious way to fight, all the Russians have to do to stop Blitzkrieg from starting is to simply ensure that where ever the Germans plan to attack, they have equal or greater force to stop them - stopping the idea of a massed breakthrough from an armoured spearhead that Guderian and others proposed.



Did the Russians have a plan - yes, in all propbability Zhukov had some idea of a master strategy, which he felt confident would beat the Germans, and ultimately this is why Stalin kept him despite the losses early on.

Did the Russians have a precise plan, probaby not. Their defence hinged on key events such as the defence of Moscow, certain times of critical resistance, etc. The Russians simply played their strengths better than the Germans anticipated, they wern't prepared for war, but they saw a way to win, and with a bit of luck, and a lot of oppertunism and skill they managed to halt the Blitzkrieg, then turn it around onto the Germans, who never managed to stop it properly.
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Postby doctor jeep » Mon May 17, 2004 5:12 pm

hi Edd, just had a few beers! a lovely day spent in the garden, so let me try to be coherent for a bit before i lapse into saying mein gott all the time and wondering where the hell steiner and wenck got to ...

There are too many "simply"s and "certainly"s in your post ... sheesh, I would give you an F if I was your oxbridge assessor! you just cant use those qualifying words like that when dealing with a complicated multi-faceted subject where any truth is liable to tainting by the author's pen. sadly, most historians do, and their life's work just becomes some failed invective aimed at promoting some idea they had when they were 18. mmm, maybe oxbridge will give you an 'A'! after all hugh trevor roper .....

Anyway, its nice to see a big long post!

the wargames run by timoshenko and zhukov against pavlov in 1941 proved to stalin and his flunkies (the stavka wasnt yet set up properly by then) that the previous soviet doctrine of rapid mass counter-attacks on a lateral front would prove ineffective, indeed disastrous. The myth of russia being stung into inaction by the wehrmacht's advance is still openly promulgated in history books as "the truth", whereas in reality it was a carefully thoughtout plan. Admittedly it wasnt the ideal plan, but it did ensure the russians would win.

the idea is breathtaking in its simplicity and awe-inspiring in its callousness. Hitler condemning the 6th army to a snowy death is no comparison.

Zhukov and timoshenko worked out a strategy between them that used the russian strengths to their advantage, and the german strengths to the german's disadvantage. They were willing to sacrifice millions of people, entire cities even, to win the war. lets face it they had no choice, as those people would have ended up in a gas chamber anyway.

the essential point is that the history you have been taught has a fundamental misunderstanding of how russia worked. To the west, losing an entire army of a million men is not seen as a victory, whereas to the russian high command it was. The russians were able to properly separate tactical from strategic decisions in the interests of national survival ... and thank god they did.

Thus the encirclement and annihilation of pavolv's armies was on a tactical level a great victory for the wehrmacht, but on a strategic level it was effectively their downfall. the size of the army was so great, and the space that they occupied so large, that it enabled russia to de-integrate the blitzkrieg. and of course, Russia kept all the best stuff back, so it was in a better position for a long attritional war.

I stand by what I said! Germany was out-thought and out-fought by a tougher opponent. The fact that they lost speaks for itself, unless of course you are one of those people who thinks that hitler lost the war single handed for the germans and without him maybe they could have won. ;) yeah right. they got their ass kicked.

I am afraid I am going to have to raise you on a few points cos your argument isnt polemical enough, there are a few things there which i would personally disagree with.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">The myth of Soviet industry outweighing German industry is interesting, production of armaments in Russia only overtook the Germans in late 1943, <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
German industry was indeed a marvel, and kept on getting better despite the obvious disadvantages of round the clock aerial bombardment! however it was grotesquely mismanaged and very inefficient. Where the russians might make 10 tanks, the germans laboured to create just 1 perfect tank. As in my last post I said: historians get all confused by figures. the fact is that germany simply couldnt believe the output totals of the german factories because the economies were completely different. Stalins russia was busily killing millions by creating factory towns to stave off the fascist advance. the germans were never so callous towards their own volk.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">With aviation in 1941 Germans destroyed over 18 000 Soviet aircraft, mostly on the ground, soviet industry produced over 15000 new aircraft in 3 months alone towards the end of 1941, simply because they now had space in the armed forces for new planes once the old ones had gone. Sounds a bit silly, but there were lumbered with their old technology.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
again a bit of a problem here. true, there is a certain industrial inertia to warfare, especially with higly complicated bit of machinery that requires lots of spares and a highly integrated supply-chain. however what you are saying there neither backs up nor refutes your argument. its neither here nor there. you could equally say that stalin was restructuring the economy and put thousands of ****ty aircraft in the way of the nazi advance to delay it if possible, but mostly to convince the germans that USSR was finished as a fighting force. go play chess with a russian and you will know what I mean.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Once tank battles become the obvious way to fight, all the Russians have to do to stop Blitzkrieg from starting is to simply ensure that where ever the Germans plan to attack, they have equal or greater force to stop them<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
well no. all the russians had to do after the attacks on the yelnia salient failed was wait till an opportune moment and then decively counter-attack. the historical facts (IE dates of battles etc) surely speak for themselves. Blitzkrieg only works with tight integration between different arms of service. so it has artillery, motorised infatry, panzers, airsupport all working in unison. Thats a big strength, but also a weakness. the weakness is that if they dont work in unison, they are ****ed.

there is another arm of service which was very neglected by the wehrmacht: that of obfuscation and counter-intelligence. The russians were very good at that, so good indeed to this day we still see them as ignorant buffoons, and not the amazingly inspired, supremely callous, people they were. go check out the 1941 wargames and be shocked :)
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Postby TEF » Mon May 17, 2004 6:26 pm

awwwww!!! why all the looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong posts?
i cant read it all! [8)] anyways, i imedeatly saw 2 'certenly's when i looked at edds post right after i read jeeps where he say theres too many of it [;)]
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Postby Edpow1 » Mon May 17, 2004 6:44 pm

will read n reply later [;)] That post was rushed as soon as i got in before jumping in the pool for 50 lengths - I normally write better much that than!
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Postby TheDuke » Tue May 18, 2004 1:16 pm

ok... someones' head is going to explode... with all this info...

What interrest me the most about the conflic is what are the key principles of failure.

I can not comment on Dr Jeeps arguments as I just never got information from a 'non western' view point - and ironically am probably pre-set to think that the Russians where controlled stooges.

But to take the detail out of it, there are many examples as to the failure of Barbarossa (that are even existent in todays polotical and corporate envrinoment).

*Germany*
arrogant and self opiniated
would not learn from mistakes
no operational optimisation (war production disastrous- till 44)
limited resources (men, money, food, oil)
no effective allies (Italy was a drain - Spain irrelevant)
no need to do their utmost as the precieved themselves as the master race

*Russia*
open to ideas
willing to learn
operational optimisation at its best (economis of scale)
unlimited resources (in comparision + lend lease)
co-worked with allies (even if of different ideology)
willing to do their utmost for no reward

anyhow... just wanted to bring in a little clarity as believe those are the key points it all boild down to.

Ironically I think that it was the suddend blow to the Frensh's arragt confidence 'we beat them once before' that made them topple.

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Postby Gapiro » Tue May 18, 2004 1:42 pm

a) ed is going for oxbridge?!?!?! you better go for oxford and keep out of this nice town

b)i managed to spend a whole period (65 minutes) looking a this, and i have decided to reply like this
[xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(][xx(]
anyway,

interesting ed. I wanna knw what a su100 actually is, as i dnt knw. and yes there is a ddgey o key on this keyboard.
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Postby doctor jeep » Wed May 19, 2004 12:27 am

a)well, Ed will go to oxbridge I am sure if the courses are good enough. strange, he has been messing about with computer games and stuff for years, has had a nasty ailment (on the mend thankfully) all this year: and is still a straight A student.
b)I am confused as well. it was something about hitler wasn't it? or was that the other thread?

I remember as a kid being taught how stupid, backward and uncivilised Russia was, while at the same time being taught how they had spies in every corner, mega-death high-tech weapons, mind-control devices etc. Laughable now in hindsight, but cleverer people than me must have believed it. I hope in the years to come some of the other intellectual baggage about the soviet union will fall off also.
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Postby TheDuke » Wed May 19, 2004 8:25 am

the SU100 is the 100mm Russian asault gun based on the T34 chasis
there is also an ISU which is based on the Joseph Stalin chasis

the biggest one was the 150mm one (ISU150)

There's a great book called Stalins Amoured Might (i think) which has all of the Russian tank history - it makes the German tanks look piffy especially the IS3 - what a piece of engineering man.

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Postby TheDuke » Wed May 19, 2004 8:28 am

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