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

Did Barbarossa make the same mistake as the Schleiffen plan

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by steverodgers801, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    It occurred to me that the Germans made the same mistake in planning Barbarossa as was made in the Schleiffen plan modifications. They are time to cover territory and resupply. The basic mistake was in having a time table that was unrealistic and didnt allow for things to go wrong and assuming that there would be no problems in supplying the troops as they marched ever farther from their starting points.
     
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,644
    Likes Received:
    463
    Location:
    London UK
    True. The other big mistake was to underestimate the political will of their opponents.

    The assumption behind the Schieffen plan was that after Paris had been captured the French would surrender. in 1870-71 the isolated French fought on for several months after Paris had been surrounded and their main field armies beaten. In 1914 the French were in alliance with the British and Russians.

    A assumption behind Barbarossa was that the Soviet Union would collapse after the Germans had beaten their main armies on the frontiers and certainly before any need for winter clothes.
     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    As this can of worms already has been opened,and,it is to late to bring back the worms (people will reply with Zuber,Foley;Mombauer,...),some remarks,although the OP has already been answered


    1) In 1866 ,Sadowa (Königgrätz) decided the war between Prussia an Austria

    2)In 1870,the French were defeated at Sedan,but continued the fighting (the Germans were lucky to have no other opponent)

    3)After Sedan,the Germans were searching for a super Sedan:a modern Cannae(but forgot that the result of Cannae was the end of Carthago)

    4)In 1914,the super Sedan failed at the Marne

    5)In 1940,a new Sedan resulted in the defeat of France,but,as in 1870,the French continued the fighting,and the Germans were lucky to have no other opponent.

    6)In 1941,a new Cannae (who would last a few weeks) failed very quickly.

    7)The assumption behind Schlieffen and Barbarossa has already been mentioned,but,there is an other reason for this searching for a decisive Cannae :the conviction of the Germans that they could not win a long war of attrition (which was "proved" in 1914-1918 ) and that they were thus condemned to take big risks in the searching for a decisive war/campaign .
     
  4. Steve Petersen

    Steve Petersen Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    17
    I heard someone talk about the difficulty of controlling an area as vast as Russia. The land mass grows exponentially as you move farther east. There is no way to effectively prevent counter attack through uncontrolled areas. Hitler would have needed twice as many divisions to hold it all the way to Moscow.

    Then there would be the insurgencies behind German lines as well.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,457
    Likes Received:
    1,147
    I believe that this is more complex than the statement above.

    It can be instructive to look at Hans Delbruck, a German Academic Historian during the last years of Imperial Germany, and his struggle to rationalize German military history and thought in the years leading up to and during WWI.

    Delbruck was a reserve officer in the Franco-Prussian War, who after the war returned to acadameia only to be dismayed that the official version of that war bore little resemblance to what he actually expierenced on the battlefield. At that time military history was the provence of serving military officers only within Imperial Germany. These officers, serving on the Prussian General Staff, wrote the official history which was then taught to aspiring officer cadets as the tenents of how to wage war.

    They based their theory on Clausewitz's seminal work, but only used an element of it rather than his whole theory. Clausewitz had proposed two possible stategies for waging war, attrition and annihilation, with the Prussian General Staff (and its written histories) embracing only the latter. From their perspective the Napoleonic Wars (or Prussia's part in them), the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussia wars all seemed to bear out the notion that Wars of Annihilaton was the only way to wage "modern" war.

    This impression however ignores both Napoleon's Spanish and Russian campaign's, worse from Delbruck's viewpoint, the Prussian General Staff began to re-write the battle history of Fredrick the Great to conform to this new view of how to wage war. In truth Fredrick the Great attempted only one War of Annihilation, which was hideously costly and never repeated.

    Imperial Germany thought of war from what could be called a view in two dimensions. Their army arrayed against the enemy army, with nothing else to be considered. Delbruck asserted however that one had to add the dimensions of demographics and economics to form a war winning strategy, or at least one that allowed you to survive. In simplest terms, you had to judge when to fight a War of Annihation or one of Attrition to meet your goals.

    Delbruck, as an academic, was not privy to the great Scheiflen plan, but his understanding that Prussian General Staff was wedded to only the concept of Wars of Annihilation precluded any other option. He predicted that such a strategy waged against the likely co-alition of Russia, Britain and France could not work in Imperial Germany's favor. Which of course it did not.

    Moving forward in time to Hitler's Nazi Germany, though he publicly denounced the Prussian concept of Germany for his new socialist Reich, the concept of how to wage war remained effectively unchanged. War of Annilation was the plan and up to June 22nd, 1941 it worked as advertised, except for those pesky English who did not understand how war was supposed to be fought.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    If the battle on the border had been won,and if therefore the SU collapsed,there would be no problems in supplying the troops as they marched eastwards,because,only a small part of the ostheer would go east,and they would need few supplies .

    Everything depended on the battle on the border,if this was a success,everything was possible (in positive sense),if it failed,well,the war in the east was lost .
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    Except Germany did win the "battle on the border".
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    except for those pesky English who did not understand how war was supposed to be fought.






    I'd say its the rest that didn't understand how war was supposed to be fought...Everyone else was and always is...out of step...
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    IMHO,they did not :winning the battle of the border meant to have free play to go to the A-A line,logistics would not stop the avance .

    As the Germans did not have free play to go to the A-A line,the conclusion is obvious :they did not win the border battle/
    The Germans assumed that the Red Army would go to the border (it was not concentrated on the border) and that it would be defeated .
    the Red Army was going to the border,the first were defeated by the Germans,but from everywhere others arrived and attacked ,the result being that the Germans had to give up.Already in the summer,they had lost the strategical initiative,and,definitively.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    The "battle on the border" was designed to destroy the Soviet forces on the border. They did that. It was the forces further east that initialy delayed and then stopped the German advance.
     
  11. SERIOUS7

    SERIOUS7 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    3
    I read that when the Nazis first entered Russia they defeated 47 divisions only because the Russians were strap with all WW1 equipment .. Not knowing that Marshall Zhukov had put together another 400 divisions which could easily surround 150 to 160 Nazi divisions any day , which were all waiting for the Nazis ..
    With 170,000,000 Russians in country there was no way for the Nazis could win , winter clothes and supply's or not.. If the Russian people lost 5 million soldiers they could easily absorb these numbers but the there would be no way the Nazi army could absorb such losses winter clothes or not..
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    The Germans expected the Soviets to go to the border where they would be defeated,but much more Soviets were going west than the Germans expected,because,the Soviet mobilisation started immediately;much sooner than the Germans expected .

    But,even this was not essential :victory did not depend on the number of Soviet divisions arriving/destroyed:the war could not be won by military means,but only by political means =
    a) the standing Soviet forces would be destroyed
    b ) this would cause chaos and shooting at the Kremlin

    c) the Soviets would go home to kill the Jews and the communists

    c could happen before b.

    Essential was that Stalin would be "eliminated ",this would result in chaos,otherwise the war would last and millions of Soviet reservist would arrive,and Germany would loose .

    Everything depended on ONE big blow resulting in the collaps of the rotten structure .
     
  13. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    The main problem I think Hitler and German High Command (OKW) still tended to see Russians as backwards , numereous but easy to defeat due to bad leadership or lack of good command/ communication/ logistics , low quality due to racial and political reasons. They assumed they were still fighting against Tsarist Russia or even a worse much less effective version of it. From Nazi perspective Russians were low human Slavs even more corrupted with Bolshevizm , Communist rule and Jewish influence. How hard it could be to beat them from their vision ? "A kick to door and whole rotten structure would collapse" Hitler said and this quote summarizes everything Hitler and Germans expected of Operatişon Barbarossa. They tend to take Russian defeats like Tannanberg (from World War I) or Winter War with Finland to feel confident against Red Army. Especially aftermath of their knock out victory against France which they overestimated a lot due to their past experiences. After a few annihilation encirclement battles they expected to finish the Russian campaign and be done with it before 1941-42 winter. Based from quote above they actually even hoped Stalin's regime be overthrown. That was their written script for Barbarossa. Once they deviated from it they did not know what to do.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    235
    In both cases,time was essential :as Germany could not win a long war,the Germans were looking for a "short war" scenario.

    But,in 1914,the problem was Russia : impossible to defeat Russia in a short campaign: the only way was to defeat France in a short campaign,hoping that without France,Russia would make peace .

    In 1940,the problem was Britain : it was obvious after the fall of France,that there was no possibility to defeat Britain in a short campaign :the only way was to defeat the SU in a short campaign,hoping that without the SU,Britain would make peace .
     

Share This Page