If Russia had to fight German alone in WW2, would it win?

Jul 2016
9,479
USA
#41
I watched it too and even he thinks that the battle of Moscow in early 1942 was the tide turner. He says they got slapped there to the tune of one million losses. But to give the Germans some benefit of doubt, they had the whole of 1942, went south, got blocked, went south got blocked, went back up and got blocked, and by the end of 1942 it was pretty clear they were going nowhere.
Here is the crazy thing for the invasion of USSR and the Barbarossa plan in particular. Moscow was never initially a target. The only actual target cities they wanted to capture were Leningrad (to lock down that entire region and to link up with the Finns), and Kiev, the heart of the Ukraine. The plan was an operational masterpiece in terms of applying all the lessons learned from Poland and France. Plus they had the benefit of attacking a strung out and poorly positioned Red Army who were in the middle of a massive mobilization effort so most units were at low strength and didn't have full compliment of men, equipment, or pertinent supplies (like fuel, radios, or artillery rounds). But the craziest thing about Barbarossa is it had no tangible strategic objectives

Barbarossa called for defeating the Soviet Union (forcing Stalin to capitulate or be overthrown by his own govt) by destroying the Red Army's main force and reserves in Eastern Europe. The Germans planned on doing that by a three front advance to attack, encircle, destroy all Soviet forces before reaching the Dnieper River for Army Group Center and South. The Germans massively underestimated the Red Army's strength and its ability to mobilize reserves, I believe Barbarossa high number estimate was the Soviets would be able to muster a total of 175 divisions or something like that, and instead the Soviets mobilized +300.

The Germans had a level of success early on that even surprised them, so they kept driving. They suffered some pretty incredible losses at Smolesk, but they still managed to win big, so they kept going. The Red Army continued to fight, so they kept going. For every grand encirclement that worked, a bunch didn't and a good number of the Soviet forces trapped inside managed to escape (while battering the German panzer and infantry divisions in the process, which weren't being replaced). Supply difficulties were exacerbated since the terrain was far worse than anticipated, weather, etc., but also because the pace of the campaign was much faster, and the Germans were driving far far beyond what pre-battle logistic planners had said was the limit of their advance.

By fall 1941 it was grossly apparent that the Barbarossa plan was wrong. So the next question is, What do we do now?

German officers are incredibly good at operational planning. Masters really. But they're terrible strategists, because they dont' bother even factoring in anything related to grand strategy, let alone politics (as one of their own said, "War is a continuation of politics by other means." So the answer to the "What do we do now?" problem provided by the senior German generals was to do what they thought would work. Take Moscow. It worked in Poland, right? It worked in France, right? Forget that the Soviet Union extended across the entire continent westward and they had ample room to continuously fall back (which the Poles and French couldn't). Forget the fact that the communists of the USSR weren't Poles or French, neither of whom had a totalitarian govt capable of mobilizing their nations to the point that Stalin was capable of doing (especially after the bloody purges of the 30s, that left him with no rivals or political threats). The Germans factored none of this in, they simply looked at a map, guessed (wrongly) at the levels of Soviet resistance they'd encounter along the way when launching most of their Panzer divisions at them.

Hitler diverting Guderian's Panzertruppe to assist with the Kiev encirclement is talked about nowadays as if it was some massive blunder. Why? Because Guderian lived and wrote a book, Hitler did not. And because Guderian was one of those who thought taking Moscow would cause the immediate collapse of the Soviet Union (wrongly). And it wasn't just Guderian, it was a lot of the German brass. Hadler (who had crafted the disastrous Barbarossa plan), Bock, who was the commander of Army Group Center, their Hail Mary play was to take Moscow. Hitler initially didn't allow them too, and when he did it was "too late," but the reality was that taking Moscow would likely not have had any immediate impact on the war, it would just have placed the Germans best divisions deeper in Soviet territory, holed off in a city they now had to hold at all costs, during a major coming Soviet winter counterattack.

But did the Germans lose the war in 1941? No, they just didn't win it.

By spring of 1942 they were rearming their divisions, sending new draft units out to fill out the battered ones, sending entire new divisions out, a whole lot of new equipment to replace that lost (including much needed tanks). Getting supply lines fixed a bit, stockpiling supplies, readying for a new offensive, Case Blue.

And Case Blue initially had nearly as much success as Barbarossa. But it too was an unrealistic plan hinged on a logistical and manpower/equipment replacement system the Germans just didn't possess until the very late stages of the war (if that). But when Case Blue stalled in fall 1942, and then turned into another disaster, did the Germans lose? No, they just didn't win.

The truth of the matter was the outcome of the war was never truly guaranteed until 1943. At that point it became grossly apparent that the Germans could not sustain any sort of strategic or operational offensives. And staying on the defense just doesn't work, one cannot win, or even survive, strictly fighting on the defense, offense is still necessary. Between the Soviet Union (who was growing larger, better equipped, and more important, better organized, led, trained), with the Western Allies starting to come back into the picture in North Africa, Sicily, Italy. With a guarantee that France would be invaded (it should have happened in 1943, but that's another story). With the battering of Germany by the RAF and USAAF, in which the Germans had no real way to stop it or retaliate effectively. With worsening supply problems (every bit of lost ground was factories, mines, slave workers lost). That was when the Germans were doomed.

But even then, its easy to say Germany is going to lose the war eventually. Its quite another to make that happen. And all told, I doubt the Soviet Union had the ability to make it to Berlin without the US or UK's help (Lend Lease, Ultra, etc).
 
Sep 2016
1,141
Georgia
#42
1. 1914 was not the loss of the war, just the simple battle.
2. You like to remember Brest Litovsk but you forget, that Germany lost the entire war because of Communist propaganda. Germany simply couldnt fight any more.
3. In 1941 attacked not Germany, but the whole band of European countries. You know that the number of soldiers participated at any great battle in Russia (Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk) are not compatible with all the battles of Russian "allies" during ww2.
4. If Prussia is not Germany, then Hitler's Germany wasn't Germany either.
1914 was just another example of Russians losing to Germans in battle. Since, you proclaimed so arrogantly that Russians are superior to Germans. So, what about Brest Litovsk ? Stop dodging the subject. Also saying that Germany lost entire war only because of propaganda is controversial. You clearly forget Britain's blockade of Germany and hunger that occurred in Germany. Germany losing it's resources in this long war and American involvement. In Summer of 1918 American presence wasn't as huge , but it was getting bigger with time.

Also, during Hitler much of German lands were united into one country. Unified into one state. Also Nazi Germany was successor to Weimar Republic, though had different political and ideological system. Kingdom of Prussia during Frederick II wasn't even close to controlling majority of other German states or territory. Otherwise, we could say France defeated Italy several times. Historiography specifically calls such campaigns as France taking Naples kingdom or French successful campaign against Duchy of Milan, since no unified state of Italy existed back than. You know, whole Risorgimento thing in 19th century was around that subject.

You should know as well, that in 1941 Soviet Union fought, not just Russia. You know, there were other nations besides Russians that fought in ranks of Red Army.
 
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Nov 2014
1,611
Birmingham, UK
#43
Thank you for the analysis of events. As you can see the Germans were stalled and the tied has started to turn by that winter, the blitzkrieg was done and they were hence done. After that winter it was all clean up for the Russians. I'll check out Citinos but if the arguments are that oil was a problem or Lybia situation then it is garbage. Neither was of any significance. .
More Axis troops surrendered in Africa than at Stalingrad. I wouldn't consider that insignificant
 
Jun 2016
1,758
Russia
#44
1914 was just another example of Russians losing to Germans in battle. Since, you proclaimed so arrogantly that Russians are superior to Germans. So, what about Brest Litovsk ? Stop dodging the subject. Also saying that Germany lost entire war only because of propaganda is controversial. You clearly forget Britain's blockade of Germany and hunger that occurred in Germany. Germany losing it's resources in this long war and American involvement. In Summer of 1918 American presence wasn't as huge , but it was getting bigger with time.

Also, during Hitler much of German lands were united into one country. Unified into one state. Also Nazi Germany was successor to Weimar Republic, though had different political and ideological system. Kingdom of Prussia during Frederick II wasn't even close to controlling majority of other German states or territory. Otherwise, we could say France defeated Italy several times. Historiography specifically calls such campaigns as France taking Naples kingdom or French successful campaign against Duchy of Milan, since no unified state of Italy existed back than. You know, whole Risorgimento thing in 19th century was around that subject.

You should know as well, that in 1941 Soviet Union fought, not just Russia. You know, there were other nations besides Russians that fought in ranks of Red Army.
Right now you are telling that Czechoslovaki and Austria are Germany. Not to forget that Holland, France, Poland weren't Germany either.
 
Jun 2016
1,758
Russia
#45
More Axis troops surrendered in Africa than at Stalingrad. I wouldn't consider that insignificant
Aha, compare Africa "battles" to Stalingrad. Relatively small point on Volga were fought and died millions isn't compatible even to entire war efforts of "allies".
 
May 2017
1,004
France
#46
If USSR had to fight and to win alone,the war wouldn t have finished in 1945,because after the caught of Berlin,Stalin would have decided to enter in the west of Europe and to liberate Holland,Belgium,France and Italy.It is for this reason that Franco built an enormous line of defense in the Pyrenees.and tried to consolidate his alliance with Portugal.In another way, Stalin,too much occupied in west europe, wouldn t have decided to attack Japan and in consequence USA,for obtaining their victory the first, would have only the possibility to intensify the nuclear attacks.It is impossible to admit that USA would have accepted the triumph in all Europe of Stalin and the access to the power by the communists brothers parties.
 
Nov 2015
1,757
Kyiv
#47
The Barbarossa plan was good in itself. Among its shortcomings:

- it was created impromptu, in the absence at the Germans of strategic intelligence data for Russia (it obviously was not conducted), a serious analysis of its economic and military potential, etc. I can repeat - until the summer of 1940 (until the annexation by Russia the Baltic states, Bessarabia and Bukovina), the Germans had no intentions and plans to ever fight against Russia. I have not found any sign of that intentions and plans in their documents of 1939- mid 1940. Hence their lack of strategic intelligence of Russia and reliable data on its real potential.

- The Germans did not consider that Russia was a military country. As much military as possible. All of its economy developed in the 1930s with a focus on a big war. And Russian military and economic plans in the second half of the 1930s provided for the preparation of war not with two or three capitalist countries, as they planned before, but with the entire capitalist world at the same time

Hence the monstrous number of Russian tanks produced before the WWII (about 32,000) and combat aircraft (more than 20,000). Tukhachevsky once said that they needed 100,000 tanks, and I think that this figure has firmly settled in the Kremlin's heads.

Let me remind you that by the beginning of WWII the Russians had much more tanks and combat aircraft than all the rest of the world combined.

The Kremlin leadership was hurt by military paranoia. And this paranoia they constantly projected on their entire country.
Like any usurpers of power, they were very afraid of losing it and therefore focused on the development of the military sphere and their secret service. The rest of the economy was built under full priority of military production and preparations for a big war

The Russians began total preparation for a big war since 1930 and the whole decade they were far ahead of everyone in that issue, including the Third Reich.

If the Germans declared the transition of the German economy to the Totalenkrieg since 1944, the Russians already have lived in this regime for many years

I have many figures and other data on the preparation of Russia for a great war with the West. The scope and intensity of this preparation is impressive. The Germans did not even guess at which military monster they started the offensive in June 1941. No other country in the world was so thoroughly prepared for participation in a protracted world war, like Russia.

And in the Kremlin at first they did not believe that the Germans had ventured to attack their monster.
In 1941, Russia was much more prepared for a long, grueling war than Germany.

The Russians were ready to work at military plants for 12 hours a day, without a weekend, and their motivation was a piece of bread.

My father in his 15 worked in this mode in military production in Tashkent. His legs were swollen with hunger. For a monthly salary, a Russian worker could buy only 1 bottle of vodka "at commercial prices." In any Western country people were ready to live and work in this mode.

- The Russian authorities and army commanders completely did not regret their soldiers, nor the inhabitants of the rear. On charges of cowardice and for non-compliance with the order they shot in 1941-1945 135 thousand of their officers and soldiers. For comparison - the Germans - 7000 of its own. The Germans had a rule about the last son, when the last remaining son in the family returned from the front so that the farm did not remain without an heir

In Russia - as an example - in the family of my wife's grandfather who lived in the rear in the mid-Volga region he was called to the front, and 11 of his children went hungry without a breadwinner in the village. 9 of them died of hunger during the WWII.

Russia was ready to fight extremely tough - and mercilessly to its people. Fight until the last Russian soldier. The Germans were not ready to fight with such an enemy

During the WWII no other country issued such orders:

THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE SUPREME COMMANDER

ORDER
from November 17, 1941 № 428


ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL TROOPS ON DESTRUCTION AND COMBUSTION OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS IN THE REAR OF GERMAN FASCIST TROOPS

...
The Supreme High Command orders:


1. Destroy and burn down all settlements in the rear of the German troops at a distance of 40-60 km in depth from the front edge and 20-30 km to the right and left of the road.

To destroy settlements in the specified radius of action, immediately dispatch aircraft, widely use artillery and mortar fire, teams of volunteers, skiers and partisan sabotage troops supplied with incendiary bottles, grenades and subversive means.

2. In each regiment, create teams of volunteers for 20-30 people each for the explosion and burning of settlements in which the enemy's troops are located. ...
3. With the forced withdrawal of our units in this or that sector, take with them the Soviet population and necessarily destroy all settlements without exception, so that the enemy can not use them. First of all, for this purpose use the teams of volunteers allocated in the regiments.


Приказ Ставки ВГК от 17.11.1941 № 428 — Викитека

As we see from the text of the order and from the facts of its application, Moscow did not care at all that hundreds of thousands of Russian residents would remain without a roof over their heads on the eve of the harsh winter of 1941

Two months before the signing of this order, the entire center of Kiev was blown up and burned as a result of explosions of powerful landmines laid down by the Russians in retreat. The Germans entered Kiev on September 17, 1941. The city was completely intact at this time. Only a few bombs fell on its remote outskirts before that. And a week later powerful explosions started in the center of the city, and then - a very strong fire caused by them. The land-mines were activated by a radio explosion at a signal from Voronezh

And the city center in 2 weeks did not look better than the center of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942



 
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May 2017
1,004
France
#48
The german military justice has treated 25000 affairs of desertion and delict or crime (Fribourg s archives) from 1941 to 1945;for 25000 german soldiers,15000 were fusilied and 10000 condamned to different treatments;disciplinaries units,jail and deportation.France in 14-18:80000 affairs.So 135000 for Russia is not enormous.
 
May 2017
1,004
France
#49
Considering the east front,it is necessary to precise that the troops sent in this part of the world were very often elite s troops composed with volunteers:
France:LVF and not milice.
Spain:blue division and not ordinary battalions of line.
Italy:Alpini and bersaglieri corps.The 250 000 soldiers sent in Russia were the best troops with very modern equipments (tractors adapted to the climatic conditions/the german army had horses for their artillery).There was no compareason with the numerous units of reserve who stayed in Africa or which occupied the azur coast in France.
For the others nations,the best contingents were formed and integrated by the Waffen SS divisions:50 % of their soldiers were not germans in 1945.
 
Nov 2015
1,757
Kyiv
#50
The german military justice has treated 25000 affairs of desertion and delict or crime (Fribourg s archives) from 1941 to 1945;for 25000 german soldiers,15000 were fusilied and 10000 condamned to different treatments;disciplinaries units,jail and deportation.France in 14-18:80000 affairs.So 135000 for Russia is not enormous.
You probably did not understand what 135,000 means. This is the number of the Red Army soldiers and officers shot for various reasons by orders and trials of Special departments of the NKVD, NKVD troops, tribunals, the Military Prosecutor's Office, political departments, SMERSH . But this does not mean that there were no other punishments in Red Army in WWII

All Russian statistics in the WWII (or rather - in 1941-1945) of the sort looked like this:


In total 999,510 Russian officers and soldiers were convicted (including 376,300 for desertion),
among them:

- 427,910 people were sent to penal units - штрафбаты - to the front

- 436,600 people were sent to places of detention (prisons and camps)

- 135.000 people were shot