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Old February 25th, 2016, 10:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by jpierce View Post
This powerful striking force is in and of itself a myth. Even Guderian himself admits in Panzer Leader (a hilariously self aggrandising biography that does its best to cloak all weaknesses and failures on his behalf) that his troops were "disheartened and underequipped". The reality was the logistics and supplies were not in place for a drawn out campaign on the Russian steppe regardless of the weather. Panzer Group Guderian (the tank contingent of Army Group centre) had suffered huge equipment attrition from the poor roads and long distances of the approach to Moscow. What looked like on paper a considerable striking force was in reality made up of large numbers of Panzer 1's (essentially a glorified armoured car) and captured Russian model's which apart from the KV-1 and T-34 consistently failed to produce results even in the hands of operators trained in the entirely different Soviet doctrine and positioning.

Moreover, Guderian already stood 500 miles ahead of the advance columns of the other army groups. The wheeling action he executed is the only reason Army Group Centre was not left outflanked, over stretched and undersupplied. Guderian may have reached Moscow if he used every ounce of fuel and energy his troops had he doubtlessly would have been swept away by any significant Soviet reinforcement (such as the very one arriving from Siberia at the time).

In short the goose was already cooked before General Winter arrived, he simply sped up the cooking process.
From what I have read although the German tanks were outgunned and the german army still had significantly tactics and communication as the Russians didn't even put radio's in most of their tanks. Also, the use of panzer 1's and 2's in Guderians army were mostly for the role of infantry support which was a much bigger role than people make it out to be. The panzer 1's and 2's were extremely effective at killing off infantry in the Russian steppe. In terms of tank on tank combat it in 1941 it was rather similer to France in that the russians had superior tanks but the Russians had poor communication, bad tactics and relatively poor training. But off course the supplies were run a lot thinner than they were in France which along with the early frost proved fatal to the german army.

The biggest mistake of the campaign was starting it too close to winter. If they had waited until next year and started the invasion in mid to late may then the germans would have had a much better chance of taking Moscow and then winning the war. Although in itself the offensive was a terrible idea as they should have instead diverted more resources to kicking the British out if Africa and the middle east before opening up another front with a country as large as Russia.
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Old February 25th, 2016, 03:26 PM   #22
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This is untrue of Guderians army in the period. They had transferred these infantry support tanks from infantry support into Panzer Group Guderian due to attrition as I stated, this means they now formed the spearhead of the army. Communication and tactics is a general point made about the German army it has little to no bearing on the situation outside of Moscow, this point cannot and should not be applied to every situation, especially when one has not read the requisite troop disposition and historical sources. This generic and weak analysis that betrays a generalised view of the German army, cookie cutter response to Eastern front warfare that is ignores the complexities of the conflict and the often crippling weakness of the Germans

Last edited by jpierce; February 25th, 2016 at 03:29 PM.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 02:26 AM   #23
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The biggest mistake of the campaign was starting it too close to winter. If they had waited until next year and started the invasion in mid to late may then the germans would have had a much better chance of taking Moscow and then winning the war. Although in itself the offensive was a terrible idea as they should have instead diverted more resources to kicking the British out if Africa and the middle east before opening up another front with a country as large as Russia.
The German idea of ​​a war against Russia was born in the summer of 1940, after some Russian actions in Eastern Europe. Russian capture of Lithuania, Bessarabia and Bukovina was at discrepancy with the Secret protocols of August 1939. And Hitler realized that Russian ambitions are far more than he could have expected before. And he understood that Russia is no longer an ally or supporter of Germany, and it is a great military risk for it in the east.

Plan of war with Russia began to be created in the summer of 1940. And it was a proactive plan with a note that it will be put into effect in the event of further deterioration of relations with Russia. On December 18, 1940, Hitler issued a directive number 21 - the plan "Barbarossa". The final plan was approved only in February 1941 . The term of the beginning of the war was the middle of May 1941. However, the situation in Romania forced Germans to delay their offensive in Russia for more than a month

The main aim of the Germans was the British Empire, with its vast resources. Russia was only a hindrance and a risk for the Germans in their rear for their war with Britain. And Hitler was supposed to eliminate the risk of series of rapid strokes.

He had no idea what a giant military monster Germany will meet soon. The monster prepared for total war more than any other country in the world.

Last edited by Dir; February 26th, 2016 at 03:18 AM.
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Old February 26th, 2016, 05:10 PM   #24
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The Russiansr referred to winter as''General Winter'' as far back as the 1812 Napoleonnic invasion so it has always been part of Russian tactical thinking.
Funkaison has rightly touched on one of the great paradoxes of ''Operation Barbarossa''-for an army that boasted of lightening war their logistics depended too much on horse drawn transport.
Also, in one of his most famous/infamous quotes Hitler told his Generals in July 1941 ''Now we have kicked in the front door the whole rotten edifice(of Bolshevism) will come crashing down within six weeks...''
This explains in part why the Nazi troops heading for Moscow in December 1941 were so woefully ill-clad for winter wafare and this Nazi penchant for hubris and underestimating the Soviet peoples caused their defeat ultimately.
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