Luftwaffe's biggest mistakes?

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,112
This is not true. The Russians moved their border to the west in September 1941. And a massive transfer of their troops to the new border began only after a year and a half - in the first half of the 1941. At the same time, fortified areas with powerful pillboxes created in the area of Kiev and in Belarus (Kiev, Mozyr and Polotsk fortified areas - УРы, Укрепленные районы) before the WWII (since late 1920s) were disarmed. In each of these URs , there were about 200 reinforced concrete pillboxes with machine guns. Some pillboxes had guns. Here's how, for example, looked DOT №205 Kiev fortified area, built in 1928-1932, with its firing points and underground concrete galleries with a total length of 358 meters and a garrison of 50 people



If the Russians, according to numerous Western historians, were preparing to repel the invasion of the Reich - why was it necessary to disarm them and leave them unarmed in 1941?

You do not like Suvorov? Here is another study on 1941 - Boris Shaptalov. Only Russian version is available.

ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА --[ Исследования ]-- Шапталов Б. Испытание войной

The author writes that:

In September 1940, the military commissar S.K. Timoshenko and the head of the Red Army, K.A. Meretskov wrote to Stalin the report “Considerations about the basics of the strategic deployment of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union in the West and the East for 1940 and 1941.” "On our western borders, Germany will be the most likely enemy ... The armed clash between the USSR and Germany may involve Hungary in a military conflict with us, and also Finland and Romania with a goal of revenge

Note that there is no talk of an invasion of Germany, but of a military conflict. The forecast for June 1941 of the Russian commanders turned out to be very accurate. They correctly predicted the direction of the main German strikes in June 1941 and a number of other things. And only exaggerated the number of German divisions.

So, the Russians move a huge mass of troops and equipment to the western border in the first half of the 1941. Placed many airfields right near the border. At the same time, the number of aircraft on them is such that with a sudden raid of the Germans only a small part of the aircraft can take off. Huge stocks of ammunition, fuel and other military equipment are located near the border.

Not only that - Shaptalov shows that the General Staff had a lot of reports about the accumulation of German troops near the Russian border in May-June 1941.

You say that the Russians were preparing to repel the impending German invasion.

And what was the reality?

Halder, Chief of the German General Staff. A diary.

June 22, 1941 (Sunday). 1st day of war
Morning reports report that all armies, except the 11th [on the right flank of Army Group South, in Romania] launched an offensive according to plan. The offensive of our troops, apparently, was for the enemy on the whole front a complete tactical surprise.


Border bridges across the Bug and other rivers everywhere are captured by our troops without a fight and in full safety. The complete surprise of our offensive for the enemy is evidenced by the fact that the units were taken aback in barracks, the planes were standing on airfields covered with tarpaulin, and forward units suddenly attacked by our troops asked the command what they should do.

... The naval command also reports that the enemy, apparently, caught off guard.

12.00 - It was reported that the Russians had restored their international radio communications, which had been interrupted this morning. They appealed to Japan to represent the interests of Russia on political and economic relations between Russia and Germany and are engaged in lively radio talks with the German Foreign Ministry.

... The command of Army Group "South" reported that our patrols, unopposed, crossed the Prut between Galati and Husi and between Husi and Iasi. Bridges in our hands

..The overall picture of the first day of the offensive is as follows:

The offensive of the German troops took the enemy by surprise. The tactical order of the enemy was not tactically adapted to defense (!!! - Dir); His troops in the border zone were scattered over a wide area and tied to the quartering areas. The security of the border itself was generally weak.

... the enemy’s resistance in the border zone turned out to be weak and unorganized, as a result of which we easily managed to seize bridges over water obstacles everywhere and to break through the border strip of fortifications to the full depth (field type fortifications).

June 24, 1941. 3rd day of war
Decor: The final reports for 23.6 and today's morning reports confirm our assumptions. ... the resistance of the enemy turned out to be unorganized, divided and therefore ineffective.


.... The complete absence of large operational reserves completely deprives the enemy command of the ability to effectively influence the course of hostilities
etc. etc.

So, the Russians disarmed their powerful fortifications in the rear. They transferred a huge mass of troops and equipment to the western border. Placed right at the border of thousands of aircraft. And they have clear information about the concentration of a large number of German troops, clearly preparing for the invasion.

But at the same time, on June 22, it turned out that Russians are completely unprepared for the unexpected invasion and they did not expect it at all.



- In Polish campaign? Are you sure? I have never heard that the Polish campaign was recognized as unsuccessful in the Kremlin, and the actions of the Red Army in it were ineffective. The Finnish campaign - yes, it temporarily cooled the hot Kremlin heads. And it was decided to carry out urgent reforms in the Red Army. And the Russians expected that in a year they should have given a positive result.



- And at the same time the Russians did not hurry at all. Of the 5807 long-term defensive structures of 13 fortified areas only 880 were ready. The preparedness of the fortified areas amounted to 15-20% on average.

All this construction completely fit into the Russian "Plan for covering the western border". The purpose of the plan was to cover the border until all the necessary units of the Red Army were deployed near it. For what? I already told you.

By the way, the Germans also built powerful fortifications along the Polish border until 1939. And these fortifications were much more solid than the Molotov line built on the 20%. Nevertheless, the Germans attacked the Poles, and not the Poles, against the Germans
Which is all very consistent...

Borders had moved west, so the army moved west and the fortifications as well... They 'disarmed' existing ones because they were building a new fortified line along the new borders and the older ones were assumed to be no longer needed.... Nothing unusual about that... Germans increased their troop numbers near the border, so did the soviets ..... Again nothing unusual....

And the unpreparedness of the soviet army in June 1941 merely confirms that they were not preparing to do anything that summer ....
 
Nov 2015
1,722
Kyiv
We can debate endlessly whether the Russians were going to attack Germany in 1941 or in 1942 or not.
And was the Russian plan Groza (Thunderstorm) real - that is, the plan for invading Germany - or it is a fake. Anyway the Russians still keep in secret a very important part of their military archives.

It is clear that there are a lot of questions on summer 1941. Why the huge Russian army deployed close to the western front of the Land of the Soviets by June 1941 allegedly for defense against the German invasion was caught unawares. And why the German documents of June 1941 speak with one voice - the German invasion was a complete surprise to the Russians. And the commanders of the Russian units under German attack frantically asked their high command - to shoot at the Germans or not to shoot?

Moreover, the German reports of June 1941 say that the Russians instead of defending themselves tried to attack many times. Obviously, in the red envelopes that Russian commanders opened after the German strike, there was not a word about defense

There is another scenario of the same situation. And in it the Russians managed to launch a big offensive themselves, and the Germans made a successful counterstrike. And although the superiority of the Russian was very large - the Germans completely defeated the Russian troops in that scenario.

Here is the balance of power

The Russians
765,300 men
1,176 tanks
300 self-propelled guns
1,154 guns and howitzers
1,700 mortars
926 aircraft

The Germans
350,000 men
447 tanks
40 assault guns
27 tank destroyers
591 aircraft

In this scenario, the Russian troops also were completely defeated and lost most of their equipment.
Losses on both sides -

The Russians
277,190 men
(170,958 killed, missing or captured
106,232 wounded)
1,250 tanks destroyed
1,648–2,086 guns and howitzers lost
3,278 mortars lost
542 aircraft destroyed

The Germans
20,000–30,000 men
108 tanks destroyed
49 aircraft destroyed

And this is a map of the fighting.



This is not a 1941 battle map. This is a map of the Russian Kharkov operation in May-June 1942. The difference is in scale - the Eastern campaign of Summer 1941 was larger. And the difference is that in the Kharkov operation the Russians recognized - yes, the Germans defeated our troops, which were not in defensive, but in offensive order

I think this map has something in common with the map of military actions in June 1941. Only on this map the Russians managed to strike first, and in June 1941 the Germans outstripped the Russian strike. And in both cases, the defeat of the Russian troops who did not even think about defense was similar

And in the summer of 1941 campaign, the Russians still deny that the Germans caught the Russian troops not in preparation for repelling the German invasion, but in preparation for the great Russian offensive against the German troops in Poland and East Prussia - although the parallels between the campaign of the summer of 1941 and the Kharkov operation in May 1941 are obvious.

There we see the quick and tragic defeat of the Russian forces which started a big offensive and were completely incapable of defense. And in the same way, the Germans, having defeated the Russian troops concentrated for the offensive, had the opportunity to successfully penetrate enemy territory for several months, as was the case after June 1941.

In 1942, the Germans after the defeat of the Russians near Kharkov continued the successful offensive up to Stalingrad.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,112
We can debate endlessly whether the Russians were going to attack Germany in 1941 or in 1942 or not.
And was the Russian plan Groza (Thunderstorm) real - that is, the plan for invading Germany - or it is a fake. Anyway the Russians still keep in secret a very important part of their military archives.
]
It is clear that there are a lot of questions on summer 1941. Why the huge Russian army deployed close to the western front of the Land of the Soviets by June 1941 allegedly for defense against the German invasion was caught unawares. And why the German documents of June 1941 speak with one voice - the German invasion was a complete surprise to the Russians. And the commanders of the Russian units under German attack frantically asked their high command - to shoot at the Germans or not to shoot?

There is another scenario of the same situation. And in it the Russians managed to launch a big offensive themselves, and the Germans made a successful counterstrike. And although the superiority of the Russian was very large - the Germans completely defeated the Russian troops in that scenario.

Here is the balance of power

The Russians
765,300 men
1,176 tanks
300 self-propelled guns
1,154 guns and howitzers
1,700 mortars
926 aircraft

The Germans
350,000 men
447 tanks
40 assault guns
27 tank destroyers
591 aircraft

In this scenario, the Russian troops also were completely defeated and lost most of their equipment.
Losses on both sides -

The Russians
277,190 men
(170,958 killed, missing or captured
106,232 wounded)
1,250 tanks destroyed
1,648–2,086 guns and howitzers lost
3,278 mortars lost
542 aircraft destroyed

The Germans
20,000–30,000 men
108 tanks destroyed
49 aircraft destroyed

And this is a map of the fighting.



This is not a 1941 battle map. This is a map of the Russian Kharkov operation in May-June 1942. The difference is in scale - the Eastern campaign of Summer 1941 was larger. And the difference is that in the Kharkov operation the Russians recognized - yes, the Germans defeated our troops, which were not in defensive, but in offensive order

And in the summer of 1941 campaign, the Russians still deny that the Germans caught the Russian troops not in preparation for repelling the German invasion, but in preparation for the great Russian offensive against the German troops in Poland and East Prussia - although the parallels between the campaign of the summer of 1941 and the Kharkov operation in May 1941 are obvious.

There we see the quick and tragic defeat of the Russian forces which started a big offensive and were completely incapable of defense.

I do not think it necessary to comment further these parallels.
Well, indeed the debate can be endless if one keeps ignoring facts, arguments and the historical consensus.

The soviet offensive of 1942 is entirely irrelevant to the argument... Once again the fact that the soviets were caught "unawares" in June 1941 rather points to the fact that they were not preparing anything that summer... And being caught by surprise is neither unusual during ww2 nor any evidence at all that the side caught "unawares" was preparing to attack

Once again:

the allied "huge army" was caught "unawares" in May 1940 (despite having been at war for 9 months), was this evidence that it was preparing an attack on Germany ?

the US forces in the Philippines and on Hawai were caught "unawares" end 41/start 42.... was this evidence they were preparing to attack Japan ?

german "huge" forces in France in June 1944 were caught "unawares" and were unable to repel the Normandy landings... was this evidence that they were preparing to invade the UK ?

german "huge" forces of army group center in Russia in June 1944 were caught "unawares" and were almost entirely destroyed in operation Bagration... was this evidence they were preparing to launch an offensive on Moscow ?

and of course there are plenty of other similar examples

Outside of conspiracy theories there are really no major questions regarding the start of Barbarossa... The germans had been planning it since December 1940 and employed all kinds of methods to deceive the soviets (the balkan campaign in May 1941 was a big help in that regard). For various reasons the soviet leadership did not believe a german attack was coming that summer so the soviet army - which was in the middle of being redeployed subsequent to the acquisition of new territory- was caught by surprise.

Perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin of the "theory" that the soviets wanted to attack Germany in July 1941 is that the germans themselves did not believe a soviet attack was coming , and more importantly despite seizing large amounts of territory / prisoners/ archives and all kinds of documents , they somehow could not find any evidence that the soviets were in fact getting ready for such an attack ... had they found any such evidence german propaganda would have had a field day.... And Hitler's Barbarossa address makes no mention of an impending soviet attack (probably because even Adolf recognized such a claim would be seen as too silly) , instead it claims a jewish led conspiracy between London and Moscow against poor Germany

Now the hour has come when it is necessary to respond to his plot by Jewish-Anglo-Saxon warmongers and the Jewish rulers of Moscow’s Bolshevist headquarters.
 
Nov 2010
285
Hampshire
Maybe the Luftwaffe’s biggest mistake was to bomb the UK in the first place. We can only wonder what the British public opinion might have been if those “awfully nice” Germans had actually assisted the British troops to leave France.

With no bombing the phoney war would have continued in the UK. France was out of the fight. There would be no Mrs Miniver film, with its bombed out church, to dangle in front of the Americans.

There would be no “we can take it spirit” and no St Paul's rising above the ashes to show the world. If the UK had bombed Germany it’s certain we would have only hit schools and hospitals with all the resulting anti-war photos.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best course of inaction when dealing with the British.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,192
it would have strengthened the argument of those in the War Council who wanted out of the war by coming to agreement with Hitler via negotiations with Italy. Britain would have appeared weak, the Americans would have remained out of the war (Hitler predicted that war with America would not happen until the 1980's, or the 1970's at the very earliest - but his desire to legitimise submarine interdiction of American shipping got the better of him). Results in the east may well have turned out similarly, leaving a victorious Stalin with weak Britain off the shores of Soviet France.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,112
Maybe the Luftwaffe’s biggest mistake was to bomb the UK in the first place. We can only wonder what the British public opinion might have been if those “awfully nice” Germans had actually assisted the British troops to leave France.

With no bombing the phoney war would have continued in the UK. France was out of the fight. There would be no Mrs Miniver film, with its bombed out church, to dangle in front of the Americans.

There would be no “we can take it spirit” and no St Paul's rising above the ashes to show the world. If the UK had bombed Germany it’s certain we would have only hit schools and hospitals with all the resulting anti-war photos.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best course of inaction when dealing with the British.
While this is an interesting "what if", I doubt it was the Luftwaffe's mistake as in , who actually made the decision to bomb Britain ?... probably not the Luftwaffe itself, which was merely carrying out orders pursuant to directive No 16 (operation sea lion) dated July 16, 1940
 
Nov 2015
1,722
Kyiv
Well, indeed the debate can be endless if one keeps ignoring facts, arguments and the historical consensus.
...
By itself, the fact that the Russians were unprepared for the German invasion in June 1941 is unlikely to be sufficient evidence that they have prepared for their own big offensive. Here it is important to combine a number of facts.

- The Red Army began to move en masse to the western border since the beginning of 1941. Before that, the Russians didn’t move much, although they had seized these territories a year and a half before that.

It did not look like the usual movement of troops in connection with the seizure and annexation of new territories. A large number of assault units incl. new tank brigades and many airfields were located right at the border. And the pace of movement dependend only on the carrying capacity of the Russian railways.

The Germans had a much larger number of railways in Poland, and the distance for the transfer of their troops was less than that of the Russians - and this, I think, is the main reason why the Germans managed to beat the Russians in moving forces for a big strike

- The Russian command was on top. Just look at the document that their General Staff prepared in May 1941 - I gave a link to it. There are very accurately indicated not only the main directions of the possible invasion of the Germans, but there is a good forecast for some of its details. I think the Red Army was quite non-efficient in defence in June-July 1941 just because the Russian command received completely different directives from Kremlin for the summer of 1941 than those that Moscow radio has been telling us about for seventy years. And these directives are still secret.

The Russians had a unique intelligence network in Germany and had a lot of intelligence data that the Germans were transferring forces eastward for a large military operation. However, for some reason the Russians did not prepare the troops to counteract such an invasion. Why?

- the configuration of the Russian troops in the western direction gives a completely negative answer to the question - were the Russians preparing for defense? Powerful strike forces on the ledge border around Belostok - this is three-quarters ready trap for the Russian troops in the event of German invasion. It is expedient only in one case - if the Russians will start their invasion deep into Poland. The huge number of aircraft located on airfields right along the western border is completely pointless in the event of a German offensive. This aircraft will simply be lost before it can take off from the airfields. Why was they concentrated there?

The Russians let a large number of their officers go on summer vacation in June 1941. Why? Isn't it because officers had to have a good rest before starting a big offensive?

The Russians deployed along the western border a multitude of ammunition and fuel depots, which would have obviously been lost in the first days of the probable German offensive. Why did they do it?

Halder points out in his diary that the Russians did not have strategic reserves for effective defense at all. Hence the weak resistance to German Panzerkeils.

At the same time, Russian forces were more than sufficient for a successful defense. The Russians had much more than enough forces for that by June 1941. But the Germans very often broke them on their march towards the western border. But a whole string of facts suggests that the Russian army was preparing for anything, but not for defense in the spring and summer of 1941.

The Russians built some fortifications on the western border, but the pace of their construction turned out to be very sluggish. At the same time they managed to create very effective defensive lines with hundreds of reinforced concrete pillboxes along the old border in the first half of the 1930s, but in 1940 they were disarmed. Why? Because the plans of the Russians did not stipulate that the Germans themselves would begin the offensive, and they would be able to reach those old fortified areas. When the Germans nevertheless reached them in July-August 1941, their advance in this direction stopped for a period of 2 weeks (Belarus) to 2 months (near Kiev). And this despite the fact that these fortified areas after disarmament in 1939-1940 did not have enough ammunition and weapons and were armed hastily just after the start of the German invasion.

There are many other facts that suggest that:

- Russians had a lot of data on the preparation of the German offensive.

- The Russian General Staff prepared documents in case of a military invasion of Germany, but for some reason they did not become working documents for combat units when the Germans came.

- Russian troops were completely unprepared for the German invasion in Summer 1941

Why? Because the huge masses of Russian troops along the western border - including a large number of tank strike brigades - had a different purpose. And on the set of facts and documents that I have seen shows a very clear picture of the preparation of Russian troops for a major military offensive in 1941.

However, this Russian operation began on September 17, 1939, continued in the Winter War in the autumn of that year, and in 1940 it entered a new stage in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia and Bukovina. You are sure that the Russians suddenly became peaceful and defensive after that - having a huge army with a monstrous number of tanks and combat aircraft - and the strategy of the Russian "blitzkrieg", which they showed 6 years before - in 1935 in large Kiev Maneuvers?

Do you have counterarguments for the facts I mentioned? Or is the main argument that the Russians themselves have been assuring everyone for 70 years that Russia was a peaceful country? But the first year of the Second World War speaks completely about another Russia.
 
Nov 2015
1,722
Kyiv
It remains to add more about the Plan Barbarossa. First, it was not a plan, but a directive. Hitler ordered to start its development in the summer of 1940 - after the Russians captured and annexed Bukovina, hanging over Romania with its oil fields. And after the Russian troops came directly to the border of Germany in East Prussia, occupying Lithuania. Over the past few years before summer 1940 I have not seen a single German document on the plans of the Germans to fight with Russia. Unless it was mentioned in the old book of Hitler Mein Kampf, which he wrote in mid-1920s - when he was still nobody and few knew him.

But at the same time, even in the December 1941 edition, the Barbarossa directive contains remarkable lines:

IV. All orders to be issued by the Commanders in Chief on the basis of this directive must clearly indicate that they are precautionary measures for the possibility that Russia should change her present attitude toward us

GHDI - Document - Page

And if you call a spade a spade, the events of the beginning of 1941 forced Hitler to come to the conclusion that the Russians were changing their loyalty to the Reich and plotting something bad against the Germans. And then there was a completely normal story for this environment. One thug lost confidence in another one and decided to stab him first with the knife. And the second thug hesitated and missed the moment.
 
Nov 2015
1,722
Kyiv
And one more question.

Why did the Russians without hesitation shoot 20 thousand Polish officers in 1940 - if they were waiting for the Germans to attack?

And when the Germans did attack, the Russians urgently had to form in their rear Polish Anders' Army to participate in the war with the Germans on Russian's side. And when it went through Iran to the British instead of the Eastern Front, the Russians had to form a Polish Kostyushko division?

Does this mean that the Russians were confident in 1940 that the Germans were not going to attack them? And the Russians had completely different military plans. And with the forthcoming Russian invasion of Poland, Polish officers on the side of the Red Army would be a big hindrance to the Russians.