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How was it that russia defeated the worlds strongest military at the time ( germany )

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by Sloniksp, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Hm,most of the "Siberian" divisions were transferred to the front before the winter,did they take their winter gear with to the front in september ? I don't see the utility of it .
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    As they were transferred by train (Trans-Siberian) I see no reason they wouldn't take their "winter gear" with them. The Soviets certainly must have known that stopping and then reversing the Nazi aggression would take more than a single season.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Sloniksp,
    I concur that the fierce resistance by soviet units played a great part in decision to halt AGN, still it was a choice, and I contend that capture of Leningrad/Petersburg was within german ability.

    More on point, IF AGC had simply pushed all out for Moscow (as planned) a roughly equal number of soviet troops would have been taken as was in Kiev. But with the advantage of the morale effect of taking the capital of the soviet empire. Would Ukrainians, not to mention the other minor "republics" be terribly keen to fight for mother russia when it seemed that russia was losing?

    Control of the Moscow road/rail network would have made german logistics much easier, while complicating russian logistics, let alone the industrial lost of this region. Supply and support of Leningrad/Petersburg if left to be starved out would have been a nightmare for the soviets.
     
  4. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    It is somewhat supported that the USSR would continue to fight after the loss of Moscow, it would become somewhat of a morale tool in which to "retake"

    But it is not fully understood how important Moscow was in all aspects. For one it was a historic capital for a very long time and was the most well known example of Russian culture; perhaps more then St. Petersburg and would have been the biggest morale crusher possible; as Moscow was the "big city life" of the largely Rural USSR. Second, as was stated Moscow was a major rail hub. But literally every major city in Russia was connected to Russia with Spiderweb pattern of railways (here you can see the results of thattodayhttp://earthscience.files.wordpress.com/2006/12/worldlightmap.jpg ) so the loss of Moscow would have slowed down troop movements a hundredfold; with Leningrad's Karelian lifeline being cut off for good. With the loss of Moscow, Leningrad would sure follow, and Stalingrad likely falling as well become "Hitler's three blows" of sorts.

    If Hitler in his infinite mediocrity had decided that Moscow become the door to "kick in" we might see a very different world today.
     
  5. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    I have also read accounts of large numbers arriving in october.

    I have told this story before. In the early 80s my father walked through the streets of Leningrad and came across a group of elderly men speaking in German. My father who speaks German couldnt resist the opportunity. To his surprise he found out that they were German veterans who once besieged the city. Upon askin the question of what they were doing there, one old soldier replied, " we came to see what it was about this city which we could not capture".

    Moscow was never the primary objective. Germany's first plan was to destroy as much of the Red Army in the field as possible. Only when the Soviets never seemed to stop coming was the objective changed. For such an objective Ukraine seemed to good to pass up.
    Ukraine would also feed the entire German Army in the east and protect the Romanian oilfields from Russian Air Force. Lastly, a destination or name of a front did not represent the people fighting there. The Ukrainian front for example, did not mean that the Ukranians were the ones stationed to that sector.

    Weather too has to be taken into account. By fall, the rains started and the German Army had to halt in order for the surface to harden for their heavy equipment and reinforce their more than 500,000 casualties.

    Having longer supply lines and now more than 600,000 additional Red Army troops on your flank might make capturing Moscow a bit more problematic.
     
  6. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Leningrad is surrounded by SWAMPS and MARSHES to the South of the city. German thrusts were continually having to deal with this. Russian soldiers had a definate 'home ground advantage' at Leningrad. Terrain was a bitch. Additionally, the Finnish effort was half-hearted, and against their policy. German policy waited for Finnish troops to further develop their offensive, little realising that they had little or no intention of storming the isthmus and taking territory that simply did not belong to them preWinter War.

    Furthermore, anti-aircraft artillery in Leningrad was the most concentrated and effective of the war. Airpower could do little to help the ground troops in the face of such concentrations of firepower. Artillery was the weapon of expediency, rather than the weapon of choice. German formations did not have near enough of it to effectively support their operations. Defence at Leningrad was probably the most active of the war. Soviet units took full advantage of the nature of the terrain, conducting much activity in the German rear.

    In summary, lack of airpower assets, (aided by great AAA protection) meant that understrength artillery had to do a job that it was ill equiped and supplied for. Add to this an 'active', defence, full of vigour and vim, and you have a recipe for a protracted siege that was never pushed beyond the 'siege' status to 'assault and capture'.

    Politically, Leningraders got into much hot water with Stalin for their personalized nature of their defence. But they outlasted the Germans, in spite of it all. The premiere of Shostakovitch's "Leningrad Symphony' was a propaganda coup that caught worldwide imaginations. Only Stalingrad got more column inches in the Western press.
     
  7. nachtjager61

    nachtjager61 Member

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    first, fighting for your homeland, Russians were fighting for their homes and way of life
    second, number of potential soldiers based on population
    third, size of country to take and control, Russia was huge a lot of land to take and control, Germany is much smaller plus Germany had to control many other countries that it had taken, Africa, Italy, Norway, Hungary, Czech, Western Russia, all the Balkans, the lowland countries, etc. Russia had a one front war
    fourth, number of enemy countries fighting against them (germany was fighting on how many fronts versus how many enemies especially by the war's last 2 years?)
    fifth, amount of material, natural resources, aid from other countries etc, Russia recieved tons of supplies and equipment from USA. Germany was not recieving help from anyone.

    I could go on with many other points but I think these are the most obvious
     
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  8. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Hello nachtjager,

    Im afraid that not all is as obvious as it seems. Your last 3 reasons are subject for debate...
    Yes, Germany had to control many countries but these countries were garrisoned with a minimal amount of troops, often German recruits served in these occupied territories as bootcamp before being shipped of to the East. Europe also had many sympathisers for the German cause, countries like Denmark, Holland, Belgium, the Baltic states etyc. had many volunteers who were willing to help. Also we must not forget the German allies who lent a hand as well.

    When Germany launched Barbarossa, she was not alone and had received help from countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Finland and even Spanish troops all amounting to a little over 1 million men and later and additional 1 million men from the Russian turncoats. In 1941, im afraid it was Russia who stood virtually by herself against all odds not Germany.

    Finally, the last I presume you are speaking of LL. Yes, Russia received help from the U.S. in the form of LL. Germany however had slave labor. ;)
     
  9. octav

    octav recruit

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    this is not an argument that winter defeat germans , first of all the germans knew the climate and take measures against it , if no then the german army was not such as mighty as it is said, a good army doesnt need only technology, but tactics and knowledge of climate and terrain too
     
  10. Vanir

    Vanir Member

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    It should be noted that whilst lend lease represented an invaluable logistical lifeline almost from the very beginning (given the disarray caused by the speed of initial German gains and entire armies worth of equipment captured or destroyed), there was no counter-offensive teeth provided by it until late 42. For example the very first sizable formation of lend lease aircraft was never fielded until the Kuban campaign in 1943.
    A big reason for this was US lend lease materiel, except for trucks mostly wound up being stockpiled in the Caucasus or at Vladivostok. The two routes used to deliver US LL materiel were via Iran/Turkey/Georgia and seaborne to Vladivostok. Both are confounded by obvious logistical problems, a very big issue for the Vladivostok route which was actually the preferred one since it cut months in delivery times, was the fact the trans-Siberian railway had to be rebuilt to take modern locomotives capable of transporting contemporary materiels (the tracks were too skinny for modern trains and big weights). The US rode to the rescue on this as well, shipping newer locomotives and providing engineers to do this monumental task themselves (thanks yanks), but it took time, so nothing was coming from Vladivostok for a couple of years. Meanwhile by the time significant US materiel was arriving in the Caucasus it was late-42, although thankfully Hitler wasn't in fact aiming for another attack on Moscow as Stalin adamantly assumed and Boston bombers mostly which was all that had arrived in numbers by then could be thrown straight into action in the later stages of the German summer offensive of 42.

    The British LL materiel was available in deployment quicker, by the end of 41 and the only LL materiel really arriving up north. But there was a couple of great problems with the Merlin engines as far as using British aircraft went, though all the foodstuffs, transport equipment and logistical supplies were undoubtedly a salvation. Merlins had to be detuned firstly for Russian fuels, even at the same octane (it wasn't) the fuels were poorer qualitively and pinged the living crap out of Merlins such that even +6lbs boost was a stretch (there was an identical problem with fuel quality in Burma for the entire war, so late war Hurri IIC/D and IV used there were actually a few hundred horsepower down on MT deployment...but Japanese aircraft aren't exactly ball tearers power wise themselves). The in service performance of Hurris both Mk I and II were found in combat trials to be poorer than the locally produced low boost version of the licensed-derivative Hispano Suiza (the Klimov M-105P). The second complication was the winter conditions at the time, Hurris required a full tear down maintenance and restocking with locally produced lubes and seals or else they suffered the same problem as German planes.

    The problem German planes (and LL ones thrown directly into action in winter), was a serviceability rate so atrocious that there were historically more sorties flown from Moscow alone during the 41-42 winter than the Luftwaffe managed across the entire Eastern Front, all of it. On the relative handful of days any aircraft could operate, the serviceability was dismal, a few percent whilst Russian aircraft went about business as usual. This factor set the tone for the entire war, Russians dominated in winter even at those times when Germany had local force superiority in summer (Germany never actually achieved force superiority across the entire Eastern Front at any point, this was a case of trying to stretch a single bedsheet across a king size bed, covering one corner uncovers another but local superiority was often achieved right through to Kursk, just never in the winter).

    So even British LL whilst a lifesaver logistically, didn't really represent any counter-offensive teeth until mid-42. At this time Hurribombers were a big help in harassment campaigns against the German summer offensive in the Don River valley region, in the better climate they were far more reliable than local production because southern air armies were getting their aircraft from the ural factories, and they were very very roughly machined and put together amateurishly. Their aeronautics ministry actually found you could get, on average a 30km/h speed performance increase at all heights from a Yak in Ural production just by having a field crew strip and reassemble it properly. A few heads rolled over those reports actually, but it wasn't really the fault of semi-skilled farmers placed into forced labour camps, nevertheless many were excuted or imprisoned for "sabotage" and "contradicting soviet realist ideals" (hilarious charges to murder/inspire your own workforce with really, but those are the names of the charges).

    Anywhoo, LL didn't play any counter-offensive role until the Kuban in 43 really, though trucks were a massive help by mid-42. You could even say the Crimea was taken back fairly smartly entirely on the strength of red army mobility provided wholly by US trucks, Luftwaffe air strength concentrated there was otherwise still kind of formiddable at least qualitively.
     
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  11. Pawnjuice

    Pawnjuice Member

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    In my opinion I believe that some of the more important considerations for the demise of the German military effort in the east where:

    Complete underestimation of the Russian winter/Russian mud and the lack of preparation for these conditions.

    Extremely long supply lines.

    Despite the belief that the German war machine was mechanized, in truth, the use of horse drawn supplies and equipment was really not considered Blitzkreig.

    Germany's confused planning and obsession with non-military priorities, i.e. Stalingrad, instead of focusing on the Russian oil fields.

    I believe that the German civilian atrocities contributed greatly to the Russian will to fight to the death in order to defeat the German's.

    Hitler played General, instead of allowing his qualified officers to conduct the war in the east.

    Lack of air support towards the end of the campaign.

    Germany just could never win a two front war.

    The T-34 tank.

    Just my opinion.

    AB
     
  12. Fury 1991

    Fury 1991 New Member

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    You have to admit. In reality Germany's allies were weak. This has been mentioned in several books I have read. Also, why doesn't anyone give the JS-2 tank any credit? It actually could outrange the Tiger. There was a battle in which a JS-2 unit took out 44 Tigers while losing only eight tanks. This took place in the Ukraine during 1944.
     
  13. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    No doubt about it, Germany's allies were weak but Russia was far from a juggernaut in 41' herself.


    And I never bashed the JS2! :D
     
  14. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Another factor, Germany couldn't ramp up production until it was far too late.
    They couldn't even match British Empire production in tanks in '41 or '42, and couldn't match aircraft production until 1944 (let alone Soviet production).

    In 1941 the British Empire produced more aircraft than all three Axis combined.
     
  15. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    You are correct Freebird, production was a problem for Germany. IMO, however; this problem only began to grown and show its true face later down the road with ever more countries allying against the 3rd Reich.
     
  16. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Friday June 27th 1941: "The Russians are suffering huge losses in tanks and aircraft. But they are fighting well and have lerned a great deal even since Sunday [the day of the invasion]."
    The next day: "The enemy is defending desperately and is also very well led. The situation presents no threat, but we have our hands full".
    -Goebbels

    Seems like the Germans understimated more than just the weather ;)

    Yes, the T-34 was a nasty surprise for the Germans, Guderian had his first encounter on Oct.6th (under Smolensk I believe) he quickly noted how superior it was in combat than anything the Germans currently possessed (Panzer IV).

    Welcome aboard Pawnjuice.
     
  17. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Indeed, but the damage was already done. Germany could have won (IMO) but only in '41 or '42. By the time Germany really got it's production going it was dwarfed by Soviet & US production.


    BTW, do you know where my Avatar is from? ;)
     
  18. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    We would first have to define "cound have won" before engaging ;)


    A museum? :)
     
  19. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Yes. :) A Russian city but not in Russia.
    Once held by Germany, France & Britain. (but not for long :D )
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)The Russian winter/mud was irrelevant,because the Germans planned to win in the summer(a short campaign)
    2)The Germans WERE focused on the Russian oilfields (Stalingrad was secundary)
    3)While Hitler made mistake,these were not decisive:his generals would not have done better
    4)The role of the T 34 has been much overestimated,as the role of the tanks :the importance of the artillery was much bigger .
     

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