• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Barbarossa - Horse Drawn Blitzkrieg

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
187
Points
710
Manpower is definitely a big part too. What other army could have taken the losses the Soviets did and still continue to fight?
True that. Stalin had lots of Tatar and Kazakh bullet traps available.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
643
Points
940
I still stipulate that the Germans were beaten by the inability to secure their flanks. There is just too much space in Russia. Russia could always fall back over the Urals, as it did with its factories, and then envelop Germany's open flanks and encircle them. No matter what the Germans did space (and the weather - Generals Mud and Snow) always gave the Russians time.

And the cold wore down their people and the kit.

Flank security was established by way of the Finns in the north and Romanians in the south both under the Fuehrer directive and the actual op plan.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
187
Points
710
Flank security was established by way of the Finns in the north and Romanians in the south both under the Fuehrer directive and the actual op plan.

🍻
I'll agree that was the plan. But by the time he got to a line Archangel-Stalingrad (Arctic Ocean - Caspian Sea) his FLOT was at least three times longer than it was when he crossed his Polish Start line.

He never had enough troops to take that line let alone hold it. Even with various foreign volunteers.

He was a man attacking a shield wall with a rapier. No matter how sharp the point and how fast and skilled the swordsman he is not going to defeat the wall. Even if he does manage to break it.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
228
Points
680
The debate on objectives during the planning phase (the original plan drawn up by the Army featured an encirclement of Moscow with twin thrusts on Moscow and Kiev) manifested themselves during the operation as well. While they had the AA line as their LOE, the actual objectives and main effort were in flux. In July Hitler changed the priority to Leningrad and the Ukraine (economic reasons), diverting Panzer Corps accordingly. In September he switched it back to Moscow and transferred Panzer Corps again. I get being flexible and taking advantage of opportunities, but changing the main effort cost time - something they didn't have. It's easy to blame Hitler for all this (and his Generals in the post-war never hesitated to place blame there), and perhaps we should look at how the Soviets won. Still, with the distances involved you shouldn't just fling troops around. Pick an objective and go for it.

As for making Leningrad/Karelia the priority its an interesting proposition. At least it gets the Germans something and denies the Soviets a route to the US/UK. Having said that, something like 50% of Lend Lease (although only goods other than weapons) came through the Pacific route.
 

Infanteer

Army.ca Myth
Staff member
Directing Staff
Donor
Reaction score
380
Points
1,030
I think the aim and the plan were clear. The question is was it ever achievable or too ambitious in the first place?
Maybe for July of 1941, but after that, not so much.

The Germans initiated Barbarossa thinking they could achieve a decisive campaign in Belorussia . They didn't. They were also surprised with the ferocity with which Soviets fought back, even when encircled.

As July turned to August, there was strategic paralysis as the Army leadership, specifically Halder at OKH and Bock in AGC, wanted to push to Moscow and, on the way, destroy the main grouping of Soviet forces under the Western Front. Hitler was not convinced, but wouldn't provide an objective.

This lack of strategy resulted in aimless operations such as Guderian's seizure of the Yelnya salient, which became a magnet for Soviet counterattacks and had to be abandoned after a high rate of losses. The Army kept pushing for Moscow as the battle for Smolensk wound down, but Hitler would not commit.

Ultimately, Stahel contends, it was the signing of the Atlantic Charter between the US and UK that convinced Hitler that it would be a long war, and resources would be the key. He placed the strategic objective as Kiev and the Donbas with its resources, and over the protests of his Generals, stopped the advance on Moscow and sent PzrGp 2 south to encircle the Southwest Front at Kiev.

As one charts the battles of 1941, and the strategic discussion within Germany, one can see that the aim and the plan were really expedients after the expected Soviet collapse did not occur in July/August.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
643
Points
940
Maybe for July of 1941, but after that, not so much.

The Germans initiated Barbarossa thinking they could achieve a decisive campaign in Belorussia . They didn't. They were also surprised with the ferocity with which Soviets fought back, even when encircled.

As July turned to August, there was strategic paralysis as the Army leadership, specifically Halder at OKH and Bock in AGC, wanted to push to Moscow and, on the way, destroy the main grouping of Soviet forces under the Western Front. Hitler was not convinced, but wouldn't provide an objective.

This lack of strategy resulted in aimless operations such as Guderian's seizure of the Yelnya salient, which became a magnet for Soviet counterattacks and had to be abandoned after a high rate of losses. The Army kept pushing for Moscow as the battle for Smolensk wound down, but Hitler would not commit.

Ultimately, Stahel contends, it was the signing of the Atlantic Charter between the US and UK that convinced Hitler that it would be a long war, and resources would be the key. He placed the strategic objective as Kiev and the Donbas with its resources, and over the protests of his Generals, stopped the advance on Moscow and sent PzrGp 2 south to encircle the Southwest Front at Kiev.

As one charts the battles of 1941, and the strategic discussion within Germany, one can see that the aim and the plan were really expedients after the expected Soviet collapse did not occur in July/August.
Absolutely. My comment was only so far as the original objective and plan which was clear and broadly stated so as to leave subordinate commands plenty of room to put flesh on the bones.

That said, it clearly didn't survive long after crossing the start line. There were clearly changes in the plan as opportunities and complications arose.

My earlier question still stands. Was the original objective and plan feasible in the first place or doomed to failure? If it was feasible then the question becomes why did it fail? If it wasn't feasible then that becomes a moot point and we simply debate what points of failure were inevitable and which ones were due to mistakes made after crossing the start line.

You point out some very good points above of what took place which seems to indicate that very early on focus was lost (if it was ever there). You've obviously read much more deeply into this then I have so we're back to the initial question: was the initial plan feasible? did the Army buy into it? was it short resources? Was Hitler too ambitious? or the German General Staff not up to the task?

🍻
 

Infanteer

Army.ca Myth
Staff member
Directing Staff
Donor
Reaction score
380
Points
1,030
Was the original objective and plan feasible in the first place or doomed to failure? If it was feasible then the question becomes why did it fail? If it wasn't feasible then that becomes a moot point and we simply debate what points of failure were inevitable and which ones were due to mistakes made after crossing the start line.
Likely the latter, due to a gross miscalculation in intelligence on the strength of the Red Army and its capacity to regenerate. The literature indicates that the Germans essentially situated their estimate of the Red Army to fit into their objective of a 6 week campaign after which the Soviet Union would collapse.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
655
Points
910
Well considering the Western forces did pretty much that, the assumption is not without merit. They just didn't count on the Iron will and fear of Stalin.
 

Ostrozac

Sr. Member
Reaction score
87
Points
280
Well considering the Western forces did pretty much that, the assumption is not without merit. They just didn't count on the Iron will and fear of Stalin.
Geography, too. The Eastern Front was on a completely different level to the campaign in the west. The French conveniently located much of their population and industry in readily accessible areas -- Paris was about 400km from the German border. East Prussia to Moscow was 1200km, and there's a lot more Soviet Union located to the east of Moscow.

Reminds me a little of someone looking at a map of Canada and not understanding the scale.
 
Top