Discussion in 'Leaders of World War 2' started by corpcasselbury, Feb 17, 2004.
OK, everyone, let's be *real* fair!
My first pick is Kiev in 1941.
The greatest Soviet mistake of the entire war was their early-war attack doctrine. Flooding the enemy with troops would work if the enemy didn't have MGs or tanks, but the Germans had plenty of both...
I would have to say the Soviets "forward defense" dictated by Stalin. His generals, though a mediocre group at first, wanted to utilize a defense in depth that traded territory for time. Stalin refused, probably because he didn't want to take any chance of losing control of the newly conquered "frontier".
Once the Blitzkrieg began, they lost massive numbers of men as prisoners. Much of this was unnecessary, due to this "forward defense". It came close to losing them the war and they had to use this technique anyway to stop the Germans when they did.
There is also Stalin's preference for "political reliability" over combat effectiveness in his generals. Not many of the Soviets senior officers of 1941 met both requirements.
And this resulted in overwhelming casualties because the ruthless commanders were allowed to stay.
The Soviet attack at Kharkov in 1942 is another mistake. The Germans let them come in, then chewed the assault forces to pieces. Stalin kept ordering the attacks continued.
His major mistakes were eliminating nearly all senior army leaders before the war and when the Germans invaded at first like hitler refused to use fluid battlefied tactics and lost I think nearly 3 million soldiers that should never have lost in such numbers
The time of the "Great Purges" of the army's officer core.
These officers' losses were grave, but they had greatly been made good by 1941. As Friend pointed out, the bigger mistake was to stick to a number of doctrines that no longer worked, and thus losing over 3,500,000 troops to the Germans. This was simply because most Soviet generals were unable to think in terms of mobility and grand-scale action, even though the country was the breeding ground for Blitzkrieg tactics.
The first mistake of the Red Army would have had to been their ego. Soviet doctrine stated that if a country (such as Germany) was to invade Russia, the attack would be turned back in a matter of hours, and the Red Army would strategic bomb the attacking country in 12 hours after the attack. Well, the Russians did try to bomb Germany in the first day, but every bomber was lost to German fighters.
Other than that, I think the worst thing the Soviets did to them selves was the great purges of the '30s. This wasted so much valuable and expirenced manpower.
Good point, I never knew that the Russians were so arrogant?
Are you sure about that. I thought the Russians were successful on the first bombing raid, but due to the front moving so quickly backward it was never attempted again?
I am pretty sure it failed. I know the bombers managed to drop some bombs, but they didn't hit anything before being chewed up by the attacking German fighters.
I know the russians bombed Berlin several times in July 1941.
But they did not loose much planes, since they attacked by night.
"War" its a 24/7 operation. Great if you are paid by the hour, the shits if you are paid a salary.
That is definitely daring, those Soviet bombardments, but in july 1941 I wouldn't have done that because the front would have moved 50 miles beyond your airfield, so how would you get back?
The germans too bombed Moscow several times in august and september 1941, but lost so many planed that they soon stopped these raids.
615,000 Soviet soldiers surrendered at Kiev!!! That's a huge amount!
How much of the Wehrmacht had been mobilised at this point in 1941, and could the Russians have defeated them at Kiev?
I mean, 615,000 soldiers...
Welcome to the forum Phantasm!
Did you know that the Soviets lost a total of 3,500,000 soldiers as POWs in 1941 alone? These 615,000 around Kiev are just a fraction of that total. No Soviet army of 1941 was capable of defeating the Germans for it obviously required more than just numbers. The Red Army wasn't ready for war, due to the great Purges and the fact that the commanders and soldiers were new to the ideas of cmbined arms warfare and tank warfare.
I'm also aware that the Soviets lost an estimated 20,000,000 lives, both civilians and soldiers...
I'm aware of the catastrophic situation of the Red Army in 1941 - I was putting forward one of those 'what if' questions
In this case...
'What if the Soviets resisted more at Kiev?'
I reckon nothing would have changed - it would've delayed the Germans' advance on Moscow even more, and all that would've changed is that they would've been repelled from Moscow at not ONLY 20 miles away from the Kremlin