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Kiev a error?

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe October 1939 to February 1943' started by Richard, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Was Kiev an error should have the German forces stayed on course for Moscow well I am not sure but they may be a case?

    Was this the first big error in 1941?
    poor judgement?
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    After the Army Group South could not follow the other AG´s the flank of AGC(enter) was vulnerable for attack. As well there were some 1 million Red Army men on that flank. You could either go for Moscow or surround the troops in South like they did. Anyway, if you tried to take Moscow there´d be 1 million enemies on your flank...A tough decision. Some Generals believed taking Moscow would have lead to victory. Well, that we´ll never know.
     
  3. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Good point granted the Germans did not know that Stalin was thinking about opening talks up with the Germans. Not only that what about Hitler the great gambler all those gambles of the mid to late 1930's it should have been all or nothing on Moscow after all It did not matter how many Soviets were rounded up the Soviets had vast manpower to call on.
     
  4. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Let's suppose Army Group Centre keeps pushing against Moscow. The logistical crisis, the losses in men and equippment, Soviet hardening resistance, the rain and snow, occassional command stupidity, halt Von Bock's divisions a few kilometres from the Soviet capital in late November or early December, nearly as it really happened. Then, Zhúkov launches his winter counter-offensive and smashes the German lines, only this time the exhausted Army Group Centre has a vulnerable 400 km southern flank and 1.000.000 more Soviets than there actually were.

    Result? Sheer butchery…
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  6. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Interesting answers lets be honest we can think up all kinds of reasons, but hey that’s why we are all here to exchange views. Alright then lets take another angle, Barbarossa starts in early May would this have given time to seal Kiev and take Moscow?
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, if it starts in May, then the Wehrmacht goes in with even worse logistical preparation (not enough lorries, support troops, entire field divisions, bomber and fighter wings, supplies, not to mention the southern Balkan flank not yet seccured) and gets stuck in the mud (the defrost came very late in 1941: the land didn't dry up until early or mid June) So, there's no initial momentum and maybe no breakthrough. The awkward Red Army has enough time to react and counter-attack just in front of Minsk and hammer harshly all German lines, specially Army Group South, which was facing the strongest and best organised Soviet formations.

    But, if we pretend there's no mud and that it indeed starts in May, then there might have been more available time to fight in the Ukraine and still push towards Moscow with good weather. What there was not, for sure, something that was not going to change anyway, is that the Wehrmacht still lacks the capacity to push simultaneously, in full-strenght, with its three Army Groups, for a prolonged time, specially in May, when the already mediocre build-up was not yet complete (there still were many lorries, buses, cars and obsolete military equippment to steal from France, Norway and Czechoslovakia :rolleyes: ). The Germans' logistical train might have collapsed and their divisions would have been down to less than 50%-strong in matériel and men even before the autumn's rains… Army Groups North and South would have lost momentum even sooner than they actually did (mid-August).

    Now, what about the German High Command's incompetence? What about Hitler letting his stupid generals and field-marshals argue for two entire weeks in July 1941 (with generalised hesitating operations in the mean time as the obvious result) the damned over-all general strategy for the campaign? What about them never reaching to a bloody conclusion?
     
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Indeed the best option for Adolf would be to act civilised and keep on trading with the Soviets as a good boy instead of invading and killing the golden egg goose.

    Of course this view is the product of hindsight. Mine, not necessarily his.

    Something for you to read "Why the Germans Loose at War", Kenneth Macksey. The subtitle is "The myth of German military superiority". Not deep enough (sometimes the author gets lost) but a good primer on debunking a few rosy views.
     
  9. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Very good points so right from the start there seems to be some warning signs, poor Russian road network their wait of numbers and the weather. From the side of the Germans a muddle chain of command planning needed much more detail. It's incredible after taking them facts on board why invade but I suppose having communist country on your door step was like waving a red flag to a bull.

    And if Hitler delayed to 1942 or 1943 the Soviet army would have been stronger threat. Anyway Hitler was a warmonger some time in late September he asked Keitel to draw up plans for the invasion of Afghanistan and Pakistan. How’s that for being over ambitious. Well I have now made my mind up the Kiev pocket had to come first no choice.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Richard,

    one thing that gave Hitler the impression that "kick in the door and the whole house collapses" was Winter War during which Finland fought against Red Army for three months. That´s equivalent to Poland holding back Germany and even crossing the border to German side 1939.

    Anyway, Stalin made huge re-arranagements in his army for instance in the tank sector and also the army got good practice in fighting during winter which was used against Germans winter 41-42.

    Kiev seems like the best alternative in this case- you get lots of POW´s and the threat to the flank is wiped away- but you lose valuable time to get to Moscow. For instance Guderian was not fond of this at all. For some time his tanks were rolling in western direction which seemed rathrer ironic to him. I think also von Bock agreed with attacking to Moscow and leave the southern front to Rundstedt to take care of.
    Quite a problem to deal with
     
  11. Duck

    Duck banned

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    Yep u r right. technically the germans lost the war in september 1941 when Hitler chose to conquer Ukraine and Kiev instead of driving on to moscow just 150 miles away with 90000 men defending it. in 1942 the germans were already doomed.
     
  12. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Just 150 miles... So no chance of worn out tank tracks and overstreching the supply chain then...

    Oh...

    And only 90,000 Soviet soldiers willing to defend Moscow to the last bullet when you get there...

    With a dodgy and unsecure supply line...

    Not so perfect when you at it like that...
     
  13. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Moscow was out the question Kiev had to come first. Thanks to these great guys here they cleared up that little matter I wondered about.
     
  14. chocapic

    chocapic Member

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    Hi folks, I made a thread which is more or less related to this point, it’s on the general board here (for some reasons, the sub boards of this forum are not always displayed).

    I’m interested in this because some authors say it’s the Eastern front turning point (at least those who consider that there was a turning point before which germans could have won their war against USSR, which in itself is a debate)

    I would like to say that hsitorians don’t agree on this point, and for sure, there is no obvious answer nor certainties onthe subject.

    Historicaly, the weather allowed German push towards Moscow under good confitions for more or less 2 weeks starting in the very end of sept – begining of october -> 20/10, before the mud sets in, then the mud froze and germans could resume offensive for about 3 weeks (approx. 08/11 -> 30/11), then the weather is getting too cold and germans men and hardware are too exhausted to face the very strong Russian defense, Operation Typhoon is called to an end on 05/12.

    It gives a total of more or less 5 weeks of operations, if Typhoon had started in mid august (after german armored units had rest and refit), germans would have had 6-7 more weeks to take over Moscow, so I think it’s hard to believe that nothing would have changed, and that Germans would have reached the same point at the same time as they did with more or less the same logistical outcome.

    German Generals advocating Moscow instead of Kiev were expecting that a Moscow rush would summon what was left of the red Army, including units in Ukraine (those who got shattered when Kiev was captured later on), and that this would be the decisive battle.

    Of course, I’m not saying that the German army could have captured Moscow, nor that Moscow’s capture would have led to a Soviet defeat (I personaly doubt this), we can only speculate on this subject.

    But I think 12 weeks of operation instead of 5 would certainly have led to a very different operational results, so the question is not Moscow in october 41 against Kiev in august 41 but Moscow in august 41 instead of Kiev at the same time.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Personally I think the main theme is why Rundstedt could not follow the other Army groups which led to the problem of Kiev and resulted in sending Guderian and his tanks to that direction.

    It seems the Red Army had more tanks and also seems had better commanders in the southern sector. But also Rundstedt had maybe inferior troops compared to other Army groups(??) ( non-German ) and also it seems that as the distance from the Balkans was the shortest to the Army Group South the troops that fought in Greece etc were mostly sent to Rundstedt (?).

    So the AGS seems to be the answer to getting the Moscow attack started in Aug 1941 but still would it have led the panzers to Moscow that´s another story.
     
  16. john1761

    john1761 Member

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    The question is could the Germans have advanced on Moscow without first securing Gomel? If Guderian just screened this sector and continued the advance on Moscow could the Russians pulled troops out of the defense of Kiev to attack his right flank with AGS still pressing at Kiev and the Dnepr river front? I don't think the Soviet have that kind of strategic mobility at this time for it.
     
  17. Machine Gun Nest 1985.

    Machine Gun Nest 1985. Member

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    Yes they could of done but it would of been risky.The Germans really had to press for Moscow in 41 because in 42 the Russians would be to much stronger around Moscow.I think the best time for the German invasion would of been in may-June 41 that way they could of taken kiev and had enogh time to strike at Moscow before the winter.
     
  18. Richard

    Richard Expert

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    Hitler had no choice in the matter Kiev had to come first and this was the start of the end to his time table, there were battles which slowed the Germans down on the road to Moscow. The weather played a big part, first the autumn rain and the mud and after a brief rest bite when the ground came solid again, the temperatures nose dived and Hitler's army had stalled and failed to take Moscow only to be met with the Soviets counter attack.

    I can not see how the German army could take Moscow when you take all the factors in to account, the only way Hitler would had got Moscow if Stalin threw in the towel and said f**k it we lost, and that never happen as we all know.
     
  19. Machine Gun Nest 1985.

    Machine Gun Nest 1985. Member

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    The odds were not impossible for the germans taken Moscow they had already partly closed a ring around Moscow but they just ran out of momentum.I agree that Kiev had to be taken first but why did hitler have to turn army group center south?why couldnt army group south take care of it?

    All the Germans had to do was to encircle Moscow that way Moscow would eventully surrender to the Germans.

    [ 20. May 2006, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Machine Gun Nest 1985. ]
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Since Hitler´s first promise that the USSR would collapse once the Barbarossa started did not happen I don´t think taking Moscow would finish the Soviets either. Actually it might have been a shortlived victory just like Stalingrad.

    To understand why AGC turned south you need to check the map and see that there was a huge salient in the AGC area and turning south created a huge pocket of Soviet troops.
     

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