# What If the Germans Had Captured Moscow in 1941?

By Mark Grimsley
Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: June 08, 2012

One of the classic "what ifs" of the Second World War centers on how—or if—the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, code-named Operation Barbarossa, could have achieved a quick victory. Hitler certainly believed that it could. All one had to do, he insisted, was to "kick in the door" and the "whole rotten structure" of Stalin's Communist regime would come tumbling down. In many respects Barbarossa was a stunning success. The Germans took the Soviets completely by surprise, advanced hundreds of miles in just a few weeks, killed or captured several million Soviet troops, and seized an area containing 40 percent of the USSR's population, as well as most of its coal, iron ore, aluminum, and armaments industry. But Barbarossa failed to take its capstone objective, Moscow. What went wrong?

Some historians have pointed to the German decision to advance along three axes: in the north toward Leningrad, in the south toward Ukraine, and in the center against Moscow. But the Wehrmacht had force enough to support three offensives, and its quick destruction of so many Soviet armies suggests that this was a reasonable decision. Others have pointed to Hitler's decision in August to divert most of the armored units attached to Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's Army Group Center, whose objective was Moscow, and send them south to support an effort to surround and capture the Soviet armies around Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The elimination of the Kiev pocket on September 26 bagged 665,000 men, more than 3,000 artillery pieces, and almost 900 tanks. But it delayed the resumption of major operations against Moscow until early autumn. This, many historians argue, was a fatal blunder.

Yet, as historian David M. Glantz points out, such a scenario ignores what the Soviet armies around Kiev might have done had they not been trapped, and introduces too many variables to make for a good counterfactual. The best "minimal rewrite" of history must therefore focus on the final German bid to seize Moscow, an offensive known as Operation Typhoon.

Here is how Typhoon might have played out:

When the operation begins, Army Group Center enjoys a substantial advantage over the Soviet forces assigned to defend Moscow. It has at its disposal 1.9 million men, 48,000 artillery pieces, 1,400 aircraft, and 1,000 tanks. In contrast, the Soviets have only 1.25 million men (many with little or no combat experience), 7,600 artillery pieces, 600 aircraft, and almost 1,000 tanks. The seeming parity in the number of tanks is misleading, however, since the overwhelming majority of Soviet tanks are obsolescent models.

Initially, Army Group Center runs roughshod over its opponents. Within a few days, it achieves the spectacular encirclement of 685,000 Soviet troops near the towns of Bryansk and Vyazma, about 100 miles west of Moscow. The hapless Russians look to the skies for the onset of rain, for this is the season of the rasputitsa—literally the "time without roads"—when heavy rainfall turns the fields and unpaved roads into muddy quagmires. But this year the weather fails to rescue them, and by early November frost has so hardened the ground that German mobility is assured. With Herculean efforts from German supply units, Army Group Center continues to lunge directly for Moscow.

Thoroughly alarmed, the Stalin regime evacuates the government 420 miles east to Kuybyshev, north of the Caspian Sea. It also evacuates a million Moscow inhabitants, prepares to dynamite the Kremlin rather than have it fall into German hands, and makes plans to remove Lenin's tomb to a safe place. Stalin alone remains in Moscow until mid-November, when the first German troops reach the city in force. And in obedience to Hitler's order, Fedor von Bock uses Army Group Center to surround Moscow, instead of fighting for the city street by street. Nonetheless, the Soviet troops withdraw rather than fall prey to yet another disastrous encirclement, and on November 30—precisely two months after Operation Typhoon begins—it culminates in the capture of Moscow.

The above scenario is historically correct in many respects. The three major departures are the absence of the rasputitsa, which did indeed bog down the German offensive for two crucial weeks; the headlong drive toward Moscow rather than the diversion of units to lesser objectives in the wake of the victory at Bryansk and Vyazma—a major error; and, of course, the capture of Moscow itself.

But would the fall of Moscow have meant the defeat of the Soviet Union? Almost certainly not. In 1941 the Soviet Union endured the capture of numerous major cities, a huge percentage of crucial raw materials, and the loss of four million troops. Yet it still continued to fight. It had a vast and growing industrial base east of the Ural Mountains, well out of reach of German forces. And in Joseph Stalin it had one of the most ruthless leaders in world history—a man utterly unlikely to throw in the towel because of the loss of any city, no matter how prestigious.

A scenario involving Moscow's fall also ignores the arrival of 18 divisions of troops from Siberia—fresh, well-trained, and equipped for winter fighting. They had been guarding against a possible Japanese invasion, but a Soviet spy reliably informed Stalin that Japan would turn southward, toward the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, thereby freeing them to come to the Moscow front. Historically, the arrival of these troops took the Germans by surprise, and an unexpected Soviet counteroffensive in early December 1941 produced a major military crisis. Surprised and disturbed, Hitler's field commanders urged a temporary retreat in order to consolidate the German defenses. But Hitler refused, instead ordering that German troops continue to hold their ground. Historically they managed to do so. However, with German forces extended as far as Moscow and pinned to the city's defense, this probably would not have been possible. Ironically, for the Germans, the seeming triumph of Moscow's capture might well have brought early disaster.

### 287 Responses to “What If the Germans Had Captured Moscow in 1941?”

1. 1
Dan Bennett says:

Your scenario lacks the strength of one thing. It fails to take into account the abominable state of Bock's armies in the autumn of 41. Add to this that Hitler expressly ordered that the city be taken, like you said, by enveloping the city from the east. This added an extra 50-60 miles to the route of advance of Reinhardt and Guderian's panzer armies, an added length they were quite unlikely to reach in their desperate state. If indeed they went directly at the capital, they may have garnered the strength to perhaps reach it but in my opinion, the eventual urban fight for the city center would have made Stalingrad look like a training exercise.Stalin would've lost some semblance of command and control, but like you said, this megalomaniacal madmen probably would have found the resources to stay in the fight. No. Moscow was for all intents and purposes, forfeited by the Wehrmacht when they diverted large forces to Yugoslavia & Greece, 6 weeks before the launching of Barbarossa. Or, had Guderian and Reinhardt's group been reinforced with Hoepner's group 1 month earlier than it was, maybe this might have allowed the Germans to reach Moscow. I still believe the actual taking of the city by the German Army was quite impossible.

• 1.1
Lachlan Hall says:

Dan's point in my opinion is valid. The germans state when reaching Moscow would be horrendous. However I think the german generals at this point would have learned a vital lesson in Stalingrad. If somehow Germany won the battle, I think the wehrmacht and the luftwaffe would have started small scale air raids and penetration raids in Moscow,so basically I'm thinking that they would use hit and run tactics. An example of such a raid would include taking out railways/highways leading into Moscow proper, drop bombs on known soviet armories and arms factories and then fade away, or taking out Russian tanks and artillery. The Blitzkrieg opening attack is a sort of hit and run in my opinion.The Germans looked for vulnerable areas in the enemy lines and attack using SS Panzer and grenadier units. The Blitzkrieg would be great for hit and run if they then fained retreat so it would draw russian soldiers out, which could then be mowed down.
The Germans I hope would continue hitting and running more and more frequently while increasing the size of attacks until the soldiers in Moscow become too tired, too spread out, and too hungry. When Moscow lost all of its tanks and artillery pieces then the would the wehrmacht march in and take the kremlin and accept Moscow's surrender.
In the end, the goal of this strategy is to prevent a slugging match while effectively breaking the rest of the Russian army which Stalin forgot to purge after Trotsky's exile.
However I do not know everything, such as Moscow's defense, as Moscow was never in great danger from invasion. Russia could have pulled off a miracle and somehow save Moscow from the Germans. In the end I'm only a student in high school, who is a major history buff and military fanatic.The attack on Moscow that I have provided is only what I would have done in this situation of mine. if only Hitler hadn't screwed everything up when he did not allow German generals act on their wealth of knowledge instead of acting Hitler's small bit of knowledge on strategy and psychological paranoia and craziness.

• 1.1.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Lachlan: The German generals could not have learned anything from Stalingrad in late 1941 for the very excellent reason that in 1941 the Wehrmacht never came within 990 Km. (615 miles) of the city. They advanced as far east as Rostov, but were forced to evacuate from it & winter on the Mius R.

2. 2
Ron Lameck says:

Moscow should not have been the priority of Barbarossa anyway. It should have been Leningrad. Taking Leningrad would:
1. greatly relieve the Axis supply problems,
2. allow the line to be shortened,
3. allow the bulk of the Finnish army to move north to help Armee
Lapland seize Murmansk, the only all- weather port in the western
"Lend-Lease" would be much disrupted – the Kriegsmarine could
use Murmansk as a base, making Archangelsk to dangerous to
ship to..
4. provide a superb base for communications, hospitals, troop
R&R, etc.
5. render the Baltic an Axis lake, easing transport, etc.

Moscow COULD have been taken in 1941, but would likely be the site of a protracted fight in 1942. The "Stalingrad" view above would not come to pass: The Axis would not be at the end of a lengthy supply line while the S.U. would have to ship men and materiels much farther. The S.U. loss of its main communications and production centre would seriously weaken its military effectiveness. The main question is "What effect would the loss of Moscow have on the MANY unwilling citizens of the S.U. – Uzbeks, Kalmuks, Kazakhs, etc.?" They didn't like Russians any better than Hitler did.

• 2.1
Carlos G says:

Germany lost the war when it did harass the population of the conquered S.U. territory considered of "a lesser level". Had it labeled the populations of Belarus and the Ukraine as "freed populations" and tried to conquer their trust, History would have been different. Even more so if Germany had fullheartedly backed the "Russian Liberation Army" and asked the prisioners taken if they wanted to join it and cooperate in freeing Russia from the claws of Stalin and the communists.

• 2.1.1
Carlos G says:

Germany would have many mouths to feed but also gained a lot of manpower to work on the fields and so contributing to the war effort.

• 2.2
Tony says:

What you say makes good sense, Ron, but only if the Germans were expecting a lengthy conflict. In reality, they did not expect to be fighting much past the end of 1941. Hitler expected the war to be essentially over before the worst winter weather arrived. Given that, would he have worried much about things like cutting the Soviets off from Lend-Lease, or establishing secure, high-capacity supply lines for his own army?

3. 3
mike says:

Nazis should have captured moscow in the fall of 1941 and if hitler had not went against his generals experienced advice and diverted his center army after the battle of smolensk,they would have

4. 4
Larry C. says:

The taking of an area or city for political propaganda as opposed to taking an area that results in the (1) the destruction of the enemy force, or (2) adds resources to one’s effort, or (3) facilitates ones logistics is faulty strategy. Hitler wanted Moscow for the political propaganda. As Mr. Lamek suggests, a different strategy may have resulted on a much better outcome for the Nazis. The other problem was that the Germans had really very little concept of what a cold winter really could be. As stated, that winter was not particularly harsh; nevertheless, their tanks could not move in the cold nor turn their turrets. Ideally, the Germans should have “hunkered down” into a defensive line for the winter, regardless of which strategy they took. Unless one is well prepared for winter, one should ride it out. I am from Northern Canada. Even in this day of great communication, I see unpreparedness for winter. Canadian construction contractor work well all winter. American contractors from the south of the USA are crippled in the Canadian winter.

5. 5
Mark S says:

After smolensk the focus should defintely have been Moscow. Moscow in 1941 was the centre of the soviet state. All rail traffic went through Moscow, significant arms were still being manufactured in Moscow, the industrial capability of Moscow was still largely intact with little having actually been moved further East. Approximately 15% of the entire soviet population was living in and around Moscow and much of these people were the more qualified within the Soviet Union aside from the Leadership in all spheres, its doubtful any significant % would have been able to get out of a pincer attack that surrounds Moscow south through Tula north through Klin and sealing the ring just before Vladimir. A Highly likely outcome given the number of daylight hours for operations, the historical weather and the kill and penetrative capabilities of the German units. This would have allowed the investment of Moscow to take place and certainly its surrender, panic along the lines of a Kiev or Minsk. The ongoing alteration of rail gauge adjustment from narrow to wide would have continued to progress at 20 km's per day ensuring that supply into Moscow would have been seamless. Any arriving Siberians would have no ability to deploy laterally given the single rail approach as Moscow had been taken. defence with resupply and much of the additional Soviet armed forces capability eliminated through the loss of Moscow a large winter offensive would have been impossible. If the Soviets were to continue which would be seriously doubtful they would have had to pull back. Supplies from Murmansk and Archangel would have been disrupted permanently without the rail corridor and Leningrad would have surrendered. Essentially the Critical nature of the Moscow Rail Hub would have secured German objectives on the Northern flank comprehensively, together with its population, industrial and political capabilities would have been significantly compromised. The germans would have passed the tipping point and the road to victory been all but guaranteed. The fact that Hitler elected to drive South to conduct the encirclement at Kiev and capture / destroy 660 000 is a tactical win though pales into insignificance against what could have been accomplished with a Moscow victory. ( The latter would have been a strategic game changer). The Kiev thrust gave the Soviets the ability to whether the storm of Operation Typhoon and contain the Germans before leveraging a counterattack with winter as their sweet ally. Certainly Adolf was the Soviets most admirable ally though given his gross interference and incompetence in all matters requiring strategic military thought. (Seems to have been consistently more focussed on controlling coal mines than the destruction of the soviet armed forces capability and the capturing & or destruction of its population industrial, political and logistical capability.

• 5.1
wes m says:

My comment is a little late. Couldn't miss the opportunity to say your analysis is right on. I have no doubt if Germany had proceeded as you aptly stated Stalin would come crawling on his knees to give Hitler all he wanted for an agreed settlement.

• 5.2
Ronald Lameck says:

Mark overlooks several key factors:

1. Most S.U. administration and personnel were already being moved to Kuibyshev (and, I believe, Saratov), as had many civilians. So they would not be in Moscow to capture or destroy anyway.

2. Leningrad was also a major manufacturing centre.

3. What to do about the S.U. forces gathered near Kiev, which would have been free to make a potentially devastating attack at the Wehrmacht flank?

It gets circular here, but to take Leningrad, with the ensuing collapse of Murmansk and the entire northern part of the S.U. front would have
greatly shortened the Wehrmacht front. It would have put a huge hole in S.U. "Lend-Lease" aid. That would not be drastic in 1941, but would have been later. Virtually all the armour and mobile forces of Heeresgruppe Nord could have been added to the order of battle for use elsewhere.
The negative effect on the morale of the S.U. and its foolish Allies, couped with the positive effect on Axis morale, is difficult to empirically quantifiy, but would have been profound. For one thing, it is doubtful that Britain would have declared against Finland in Dec. 1941. The Finns would have remained a useful force for offensive actions (if needed). Maybe Bulgaria and even Turkey might have joined the Axis.
The point is, notions of overcoming the largest nation on earth in a 6-week campaign were deleriously optimistic from the outset. It was an unrealistic expectation. As Napoleon's misadventure of 1812 showed, capture of Moscow was not going to be sufficient to win the war.

• 5.3
Christopher says:

I greatly agree with Mark. Most people understimate few things about Moscow: Its population, industrail capacity and rail traffic. Look at the rail map: http://www.karty.by/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/railway_SSSR_schema.jpg Everything goes through Moscow especially all transports to the north! Capturing Moscow would paralyze Soviet northern front. Also, it would be hard to deploy Soviet forces after capture of Moscow because closest places where you can do so the the east are 100 Km away. The author of article states that 1 milion residents would evacuate but forgets to mention that 6 milions were living in and around Moscow and let's say that also 50% of industrial capacity would be relocated to the east. But that's still a great loss. Soviet forces in Kiev were a threat but if you look at their organization and the preassure of German Army Group South it is clear that they wouldn't be able to counterattack on a flank. They would retreat east. The question for me is that what would hapen after (winter 1941-42). Most of the Soviet southern front intact, Siberian forces coming and new Soviet armies in Center would have a capability to counterattack like Soviets did in reality but after this scenario of capturing Moscow I would give this counteroffensive 60-40 in favour of Soviets that they would recapture Moscow beacause in reality Moscow was a basis of deploment and command on this counteroffensive.

• 5.4
Marek says:

must add albeit very late that Mark's argument is very well thought out. Moscow was the communication hub from which the Communist organ sent out orders. Even surrounding it and severing communications would have changed things tremendously, especially if accomplished before the beginning of October.

6. 6
Trent says:

The reason the Wehrmacht didnt succeed in the Soviet Union is the lack of a main strategy. Hitler wanted both the destruction of soviet armies by ways of mass encirculments and the capture of resources and cities to feed propangda and industry. Hitler changed his goal a few times giving soviets just enough time to hold fast giving the Germans tactical but not strategic victories. Indeed the Germans needed to both destry the soviet armies and gain cities and resources, however the strategy was changed at times when the Germans may have been better 'sticking to the job at hand'. Had the Germans focused on the destruction of soviet armies before making geographic goals then perhaps Moscow would have been taken a lot easier. Or perhaps the german focused on the taking of Moscow and Leningrad for strategic victories which should have bottle necked soviet supplies and troop movements whilst freeing up supply lines for the Germans. Then the Germans could go about destroy the soviet armies. Had Moscow fallen so would have Leningrad almost ensuring a german victory in the east. Perhaps there would be so more huge battles but germany would be without the disadvantages of supply amongst other things that hampered their war effort til the end of the war. Again a typical case of hitlers poor decisions.

7. 7
Gavin M says:

Taking of Moscow would not have made any difference, as Russia still had resources, factories etc east of Urals, plus Baku and oil.
To have had any chance of success, Operation Barbarossa required the taking of Baku and the oil fields in 1941 as well as Moscow and hence an attack of 4 army groups (with co-operation or coercion of Turkey) in total (perhaps 5 million men, possible if Total war enacted in 1939/40 not 1943). With the oil secured, the Soviets ability to fuel its tanks and armies greatly reduced. By end of 1941 a line from Rostov to Astrakhan could be secured. Then 1942 a further push towards cities like Perm, effectively taking all of Western Russia, with the war in the east won by end 1942.

8. 8
Trent says:

I disagree Gavin. Whatever the Soviets lost the Germans gained making the battle exponentially harder for the Soviets. I do believe the Soviets would have fought on in a heroic battle had the Germans taken Moscow. Germans would have won the central railway lines, and in a few weeks the german rail lines could run from the factories in Germany straight to the front and reinforce, whilst also taking away that advantage from the Soviets. This would also severely damage soviet morale, whilst lifting the Germans. The taking of a capital has always been detrimental in warfare throughout the ages. The German panzer divisions were at u strength by the start of Barbarossa. Had they been at  or 0 then I think World War 2 would have been lost by the Allies. Imagine if there were 200 German divisions on the atlantic wall (assuming the SU lost) – this would be impossible to invade. The Luftwaffe could seriously challenge the RAF and USAAF causing far less damage to german industry, which means more tanks, more aircraft, more AA/AT and more oil synthesization. The knock-on affects of the victory of the battle of moscow are scary.

• 8.1
christopher dean says:

There was one small problem with the railway system the russian gauge was narrower than the german gauge which would mean with converting the russian gauge to german or offloading the german supplies onto russian rail cars.

9. 9
James Minton says:

I'm only a teen, so bear with me…

What I know was the biggest problem for the Germans by this point was need for petrol for their tanks, planes and etc. I remember one source I heard saying that a big error on Hitler's part was sending his southern group towards the oil fields AND Stalingrad.

Back on subject, what Trent says is correct. Had the SU fallen and the majority of the Wermacht been on the Atlantic Wall, D-Day would've failed horribly. The transport boats wouldn't have even made it to their beaches, while the lucky ones that did would get picked off by artillery fire. Trent again is accurate on the lack of main strategy. As I said about the southern group, Hitler split in half a large army simply because a city DARED be named after his foe Stalin. If Hitler'd let the task force go all at Stalingrad or the oil fields, he would've succeeded.

• 9.1
Christopher says:

You are speaking about 1942 German offensive (Operation Edelweiss) Not 1941 (Barbarossa and Typhoon) so it's not a point. I am sorry if I will sound agressive but I really dislike the point of Germans lacking petrol in 1941/42. Surely they were lacking it later but they were still able to survive without any petrol fields (I know they had Ploesti in Romania and some very minor ones across Europe) until they went dry in late 1944 so that's not the point in this discussion

• 9.1.1
christopher dean says:

what the germans did not do was develop an oil that would not freeze if the temperature hit -40C……..the russians had done this and their tanks and truck succeeded.

As far as supplies going the northern route the nazis had enough planes to sink the ships and could have placed more planes in that country.

If the germans had not oppressed the ukrainians and others as mentioned they would have gotten an effective fifth column (this terms comes from the spanish civil war where madrid was attacked by 4 columns of franco's troops and a fifth column composed of civilians.

Also had the germans attacked on april 7th instead of june 22 they would have conquered european russia as hitler did not want to go any further.

10. 10
AlanT says:

It is unlikely the Germans could have taken Moscow. The weather might have been less inhospitable, but it was still going to rain in October to some extent. What was holding back the Germans more than anything was logistics, or rather lack thereof. Not enough petrol, spare parts, winter gear, ammo, etc. German trains were not running in sufficient quantities even when the rails had been re-guaged.

Had the germans not turned south to make the pocket at Kiev the Soviets there would've held out and threatened Army Group Center's long right flank. They had been doing this since the Germans too Smolensk.

Read David Stahel's books on Barbarossa, Kiev and Typhoon, along with Glantz. The pro-German histories written by German Generals or primarily using their notes written in the '60's and '70's have been partially/fully debunked. The numbers of prisoners taken at Kiev have been revised downward, though it was still a significant victory for the Germans.

48,000 pieces of artillery for the Germans in Typhoon – that's a totally bogus number. Check other sources for all those German/Soviet numbers and you will see they are not accurate. For example wikipedia (Battle of Moscow) credits the Soviets with 3,232 tanks and the Germans with only 549 aircraft initially.

Someone mentioned Germanreinforcements pouring in over rail lines to Moscow if it were taken. The German rail system collapsed for awhile because they had very few trains that could operate in Russia in the winter. Also, there were few remaining replacements (men) and tank production had earlier been reduced in favor of U-boats and aircraft. (Because the Soviets were supposed to have been defeated and Germany was going to turn back on England in 1942.)

• 10.1
Gavin M says:

And-

1. The guages (rail width) used by Germany and USSR were different.

2. Over such distances through hostile populaces, sabotage would in all likelyhood severely hamper reinforcements.

11. 11
ralph says:

hitler was an idiot.. if he wanted Stalingrad he should have tried to persuaded turkey to get involved and promise them victory and more land.. he's an idiot for declaring war on usa especially when japan wouldn't declare war on the ussr and back the germans. if Russia had a 2 front war they would have collapsed. like someone said above he should have took leningrad instead of trying to starve the people in the city and then take mumansk. then storm to Moscow and build defences. and in the phony war year he should have tried an invasion of Britain regardless of the losses. if Britain fell Canada, australia, new Zealand would be out of the war, Britain stayed a live because of food and supplys from Canada. offensive wars usually win wars but he didn't know the right time to defend or let up

• 11.1
christopher dean says:

hitler never wanted to invade england and offered 5 peace treaties which brings up an interesting question……what if england had accepted?

Also the japanese never told the germans about their 1939 defeat by the russians and forced to sign the neutrality pact.

If hitler had not declared war on the US they would have sent only supplies but no troops would have been involved and I believe no bombings as well.

12. 12
Lyndon says:

How far East did German aircraft operate during the invasion of Soviet Union?

Did they ever strafe or bomb the Urals and Siberia?

Using Lapland as a base, why didn't the Germans and Finns attack Murmansk and Archangel?

Just love the thoughtful insight that goes into all these comments!!!

Keep it up, fellers!!!

13. 13
Brendan says:

I thought the winter of 1941 was the coldest winter in 150 years?

Had the Germans used the resources used in 1942 for Case Blue (Fall Blau), and had Hitler not sacked Guderian, Brauchitsch, and the other top generals of the OKH in 1941, then a offensive after Typhoon in 1942 would have succeeded in capturing Moscow. While Moscow was obviously not as important as Leningrad, in terms of lendlease and Artic supply routes, Moscow was central railway junction for the entirety of the western SU, and taking Moscow in 1941 or 1942 would have effectively cut the SU in half. This would mean that the resources from the south and Black Sea (i.e. industrial centers such as the Crimea, Stalingrad, Karkov and others) would not be able to be sent to other parts of the SU, and Leningrad, already crippled and under siege, would not be able to rely on the Ladoga lifeline. So while the capture of Moscow in either 1941, or 1942 would (probably) not have meant the surrender of the SU, it may have meant a much longer war in general, or at least increased political pressure on Stalin and the threat of a coup as more losses are taken (not quite sure about that last part).

14. 14
Greg says:

Leningrad was irrelevant. Hitler didn't want to feed a city of that size. And the Finns (presciently as it turned out) refused to attack beyond their 1939 borders. Moscow on the other hand was the command and control center. If it fell, the USSR would become disorganized and collapse.

• 14.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Greg, we are getting somewhat circular here. Leningrad was the 2d-most important industrial city in the S.U. It was also a sea port which would allow Nazi supply access in a "partisan-proof" way for half of the years. With it taken, the Finns could transfer their troops north to either play a defensive role on the coast, at the Petsamo nickel mines or to allow 20th Mountain Army to devote its full resources to seizing Murmansk.
Loss of Murmansk would virtually shut down Allied "Lend-Lease" except by southern or eastern routes The Nazis could base U-boats and the Tirpitz there, out of range of Allied bombers. The Allies would not want to risk capital ships in the Barents Sea, because serious damage would be the same as having the ship sunk – it probably could not make a safe port.
Hitler had no use for Leningrad, and would have destroyed it in truly Biblical fashion if he'd had the wherewithal. But it would be a good supply and hospital and rest base for die Wehrmacht. With its fall, the ultimate loss of Moscow would be all but guaranteed.
The psychological effect on Soviet morale – and on German – would be immeasurable. For the Soviets, a catastrophe, for the Nazi, like winning the Gold Cup of Soccer.
What makes you think Hitler would bother to feed the population? That's what Lake Ladoga was for – load them up on barges, flot the barges into the lake, and use them for artillery and bomber practice.
This was a "tried and true" Soviet method, used to exterminate a large number of the nearly 22,000 Polish military officers they captured in 1939.

15. 15
CHARLIE BOY says:

U RE AL FOOLS. WITHOUT S ENTERING THE WAR ALL OF EUOPE WUD BE GERMAN RIGHT NOW. THE IDIOT FOUGHTON 2 FRONTS WHICH WS BIGGEST MISTAKE.

WE DEFEATED HITLER AND HAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS? 60 YEARS OF THOS RUSSIAN BASTARDS THATS WHAT

WERE HE RUSSIANS ANY KINDER TO OUR PEOPLE THAT THE GERMANS? NO THEY TRIED TO ELIMINATE OR PEOPLE JUST LIKE THE NAZIS DID USA SHUD HAVE LET BOTH OF THEM L EACH OTHER AND THEN WE CUD HAVE CLEANED UP AFRERWARDS. WE BACKED THE RUSSIANS????? WHAT A JOKE THAT WAS. THEY DID WHT HITLER ID ANYWAY. TOOK MOST OF EUROPE ND MADE US LOOK LIKE FOOLS

• 15.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Charlie Boy: Maybe you need to sober up before entering a comment. Your conclusions are ludicrous.
1. Contrary to your belief or desire, the people who take time to comment in this or other fora are not "fools." For the most part, they have a reasionable knowledge of the facts of history. They debate issues much like "armchair quarterbacks."

2. "Without (U.S.?) entering the war all of Europe (would?) be German right now." But the U.S. only entered the war against Germany upon Hitler's declaration or 11 Dec. 1941. Had he not so acted, there is abundant evidence that the U.S. would have remained militarily aloof to Europe and devoted all of its military attention to Japan.
It likely still would have sent arms & supplies to Britain – and perhaps to the S.U. but, without its large military contribution, N. Africa would have remained in a stale-mate. The substantial Axis forces not thereby diverted may have been enough to tip the scale against the S.U.
Without U.S. intervention, in N. Africa, the Nazis would not have felt the need to over-run S. France ("Vichy"). Italy and its possessions would remain active in the Axis.
There would have not been the invasions of Sicily, Italy, S.France or "D-Day." Rumania, Hungary, Slovakia would remain independent nations.
That paints a picture of a Europe that is no where near "German" – not any more than it is today with Germany as the leading entity of the European Union.

3. Fighting on 2 fronts: Hitler was not the 1st or the only to do so – not even in WWII. The U.S. did. Britain did. One of Hitler's heroes, Friedrich der Grosse did. Napoleon often did. It's a strategy born of necessity, but is only a bad strategy if you lose. In mid-1941, it seemed a worthwhile risk. Only "20-20 hindsight" can criticise it.

4. Even by 1947, the bi-polar drunkard Churchill, speaking in respect of Hitler and Stalin, noted "We killed the worng pig."
In 1942, he declared that he did not become the King's First Minister so that he could bring about the break-up of the British Empire. But that is precisel;y what he did do.
He later said "It is better to jaw, jaw than to war, war" – but he refused NINE offers of peace negotiation with the Nazis.
He COULD have accepted an honourable peace in 1940 and saved countless millions of lives and the turning of E.Europe into a S.U. colony/gulag. But foresight and global thinking were never his fortes.

5. Now, about 70 years on, the S.U. is only a memory. The Nazis are history. But Europe is strong – perhaps as strong collectively as it ever was. What does this prove? It proves "There has never been a good war, or a bad peace." – Benjamin Franklin, letter, 11 Sep. 1783.

• 15.1.1
Neil R says:

Oh and Hitler's offers of peace negotiations would have been honoured would they? Next you will be telling me that all his preparations and invasions without notice of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece, Russia (its ally at the time in Poland) etc etc were just simple misunderstandings were they!!!!. I don't know what country you are from, USA probably, but thank your lucky stars that Churchill alone saw what Hitler 's murderous intention of World domination was, and led Britain and it's Commonwealth to stand up to him. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and your statement of peace negotiations is laughable.

• 15.1.2
duda says:

Hitler seemed to appreciate great Britain. He didn't want to actually fight them and held off for months before planning operation sea lion. He had always been confident that they would accept peace terms and I think part of that was him hoping they would because of them being decedents of the aryian race. Still it's very good that they did not cave. Giving the royal navy to him would have made Germany unstoppable. And not giving into them meant gb would never fall to them since invading gb was out of the question. Hitler should not have invaded the Soviet Union until gb was neutralized. But again he was hopeful that he wouldn't have to kill them off and thought trashing the soviets would make them cave in.

16. 16
Ronald Lameck says:

Neil: We shall see exactly who is making laughable statements. It is extremely clear that you possess crushingly little knowledge of what you write, and that knowledge has enormous lacunae in it.

WHO has ever given notice of an invasion? Knock, knock. \Who's there?\ \Goons. We're here to invade your home.\

Re: Czechoslovakia. After being forced to cede Sudetenland by the intimidation of Britain, France and Italy over the strident objection of the Soviets, it's government was mad to expect all to be sweetness and light thereafter. Hitler made his intentions crystal clear in \Mein Kampf\ 14 years earlier – he wanted to reform the old Holy Roman Empire. The Czech army was about as large as the Wehrmacht of the time and had, for the most part, superior armour. Why did it not lift a finger in the nation's defense if this was an \invasion?\

Re: Poland. Again, Hitler made his desire crystal clear. Poland knew that, between the Nazis and Soviets, it was a fish between two hungry cats. A glance at a map would show that, if attacked, it would be in a grievous state long before belligerent Britain or reluctant France could do anything. But the ruling junta foolishly accepted Chamberlain's demented \guarantee\ and stopped negotiation with Germany. Poland COULD have treated with Germany and became its ally. That would have added 35 divisions to the Unternehmen Barbarossa order-of-battle, moved the jump-off point some 600 Km. further East, and virtually assured the defeat of the S.U. within the 1st year of assault. What did it gain by falling for the British bovine scatology? – Wholesale destruction.

Re: Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg. They hitched their wagon to the British/French tarnished star. Not like the Dyle Plan was any secret. They had the choice to proclaim neutrality at the outset, but did not and suffered the consequences of being room to maneuver – for both Germans AND Allies. Note that, on a per-capita basis, these two countries gave among the highest numbers of volunteers to the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS.

Re: France. You ARE joking, right? France declared war on Germany. It made a half-hearted attack across the border on & Sept. 1939 that was easily brushed back. Then you expect Germany to send a bouquet of roses along with a note \Hey. We'll be in your neighbourhood. Mind if we look in?\

Re: Denmark. Entered by Germany solely as flank protection for Weserubung.

Re: Norway. Hmm. Germany got most of its iron ore from Sweden via Norway. Britain illegally entered Norway's waters to lay sea mines. The R.N. destroyer \Cossack\ illegally entered its waters to seize British prisoners-of-war from the German freighter \Altmark.\ There was a combined British-French invasion force already at sea when the Wehrmacht beat them to the punch. WHO committed the acts of war against that neutral sovereign nation? (hint: NOT Germany).

Re: Yugoslavia. In March 1941, the Yugoslav government joined the Axis Tripartite Pact. It was overthrown in a coup-d-etat just days later. The new \government\ showed no intent to honour its commitment. Germany needed to bail out Italy from its ill-conceived invasion of Greece in Oct. 1940. It also needed to guard its flank for the upcoming \Barbarossa\. Yugoslavs could have avoided any pain by proving allegiance to the Pact. No such effort was ever made, so they suffered the obvious consequence.

Re: Greece. ITALY invaded Greece in Oct. 1940 without informing its ally, Germany. Britain had been sheltering and re-fueling its navy ships at Greece, rendering Greece no longer a neutral, but rather an abettor of Italy's enemy. The attack was a fiasco.
The Wehrmacht came in April 1941 and made short work of the situation. Another country attacked solely because of its bad decision to affiliate with the war-monging Britain.

Re: \Russia\ – hint: Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Russia was merely one of its federated republics. Again, Hitler made his intent crystal clear in \Mein Kampf.\ The Soviets certainly knew it, and were certainly NOT surprised by \Barbarossa\, despite their propaganda to the contrary in subsequent years.

Had Britain stayed neutral in 1939, Canada would not have been silly enough to declare. 40,000 of its citizens would not have died and its national debt would have been vastly smaller.

No Neil All WWII did was postpone the very situation we have today, and at a cost of 10's of millions of lives. All lost to appease the egos of Chamberlain and Churchill. Thanks for NOTHING.

• 16.1
Trent says:

I do enjoy your writing Ronald. An interesting view on the British situation at the time, it makes for a more 'defensive minded' Germany than commonly accepted history suggests. Although I will have to put your facts to scrutiny before I can agree with your analysis.

• 16.1.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Trent: I defy anyone to find a single word written by Hitler, or uttered by him prior to the French surrender in end of June 1940 the displayed any belligerent approach toward the British Empire or Western Europe. In fact, on 11 August 1939, he said to Carl Burckhardt (League of Nations High Commissioner for Danzig)

Everything I undertake is directed against Russia (Soviet Union). If
the West is too stupid and too blind to comprehend this, I will be
forced to reach an understanding with the Russians (S.U.) , turn and
strike the West, and then after their defeat turn back against the
Soviet Union with my collected strength. I need the Ukraine and with
that, no one can starve us out as they did in the last war.

THAT is precisely what he did do. All the rubbish about wanting to conquer the world is booze-infused post-war propaganda spewed by Churchill to justify the colossal error he made that led to many millions more deaths (including the so-called Holocaust and the dismemberment of the British Empire) and far more destruction than was necessary.
Read what Churchill wrote about Hitler in his 1937 book Great Contemporaries to find him singing a completely different song. No government should ever allow a bi-polar to have highest authority.

17. 17
rugrat says:

Had Churchill made peace with Hitler this would b a different world we would b living in Hitler would have almost certainly beat Russia. First of all the Luftwaffe would have been a far more effective fighting force. There wouldn't have been a campaign in north Africa providing more troops for the east. There wouldn't have been a month delay in operation barberossa also Japan seeing that Hitler was very likely to beat Russia would have invaded from Manchuria. Having made this assessment what would the world be like today Hitler reAlly didn't start exterminating the Jews until the war started looking like he might loose. he was originally just thinking of sending them east or to Madagascar
We would have still researched the atom bomb and in that case would have been safe behind our oceans
Great Britain would have saved billions of dollars from lend lease all the while keeping her colonies
Germany the leading aviation industry might have made great advances in technology maybe we would b on our way mars by now.
No cold war with the Soviet union sparring 55 years of east European dark
Age.
Hitler with the onset of Parkinson's disease as early as 42 might have been deposed by 48
Was the loss of all those American British and Canadian soldiers on African and European soil really necessary?

• 17.1
Ronald Lameck says:

I agree almost 100% with rugrat.
Note about Churchill that on 10 Nov. 1942 he said that he had not become the King's First Minister to oversee the Empire's dismembering. But that is precisely what was the result of his dogmatic, unnecessary continuance of the war.
On 26 June 1954, he said that is was better to jaw, jaw than to war, war. Why did he lack this wisdom in summer 1940, when he rejected NINE offers from Hitler to negotiate peace?
He is attributed to have said (on any or all of 1947, 26 March 1948, or 1960) that "we killed the wrong pig." Once again, 20-20 hindsight.
This from a reputed "great man." If THAT is "great", give me ordinary.

• 17.2
duda says:

I think had the Germans not been so desperate in 1942 that they would have continued investing in their nuclear program rather than turn to rockets as the quick solution to their problem against Russia. In that case they may have beaten the usa to it. But set aside who gets the big bomb first, a few nuclear weapons hardly matter against a victorious army. Japan was already dead when we used the bombs on them and I doubt it had much to do with being the reason for surrender. Nukes brought peace more than they brought death. With both sides having them and uk friendly to Germany then the usa would also not be aggressive. The world may have been a better place. We would likely be decades ahead rather than having to rebuild everything again. And the usa would not have become such a giant with it not having the opportunity to put bases around the world and capture all of those German scientists. They'd probably still be farmers.

I'm pretty sure Hitler would not have stayed in power for too long. Eventually someone would have gotten him. If not his illness would. It's unlikely that an organization like the gestapo would have lasted long. The hate would have faded away or people would have rose up against it.

• 17.2.1
Ronald Lameck says:

duda: Respectfully, all your outlook is saying is that, if things had not stayed the same, they would have been different. Obviously, had a coherent and consistent strategy been followed for Barbarossa, it would have been possible to have the Soviets on the ropes (at least) by the end of 1941. If Leningrad had been taken, the Finns could have detached a large force north to aid in the capture of Murmansk. In that circumstance, the Finns may have completely ignored the British declaration of war against them on 6 Dec. or, possibly, Britain may not have made it in the first place, seeing the Soviets as done like dinner. Had Hitler not been so rash as to declare war on the U.S. on 11 Dec., there is a good chance the U.S. may have opted to direct its priority on fighting Japan. The war in Europe would have seen German supreme on the continent in a way that Napoleon dreamed of, but never attained.
Britain may have realised that it could not defeat Germany in those circumstances and made a peace. And if rainwater was beer, we would all be happy.

18. 18
Jackopath says:

I think you guys are taking the revisionist point of view too far… and you're being unfair to Churchill, and even Chamberlain. It was Conservative PM Stanley Baldwin that committed the UK to a appeasement path long before Chamberlin and Churchill had a shot at being First Minister. Chamberlin was trying to hold off conflict until England was ready to fight. He relunctantly brought WSC into the Cabinet as hostiliteis commenced and put him in a job, Firt Lord of the Admiralty, where he had almost no impact on the conduct of the war until he became PM after the War in France had been decided.

I think your critiques of the British border on the absurd. They viewed the Germans as hun… barbarians… and they were right. They rejected Peace outright with the Nazis stating that they would be better off \…lying on the ground choking in their own blood…\ then giving into Hitler. I can see someone not liking WSC's political views and the negative results that have come from them in certain ways and in certain points of view. But, do you really go so far as to see Hitler, Stalin and Churchill as moral equivalents? I think that goes way too far.

19. 19
Jackopath says:

But on the question of the day… Debates about tactics and operational strategy are difficult to resolve. I think if the Nazi's weren't so hate and race driven, and not committed such horrific attrocities upon the local populations, found support in the Caucuses and the Ukraine, they could have destroyed the SU in 1941. They had to put a lot of resources into controling the territory they conquered and created fanatical enemies out of people that could just as easily surrendered. Since the German's defeated the Russians in 1917, they could have repeated… instead they ended up like Napolean. Anyone who's been to Moscow will tell you that the German's were actually quite close to the center of the City than the history books describe… I think if they had not laid waste to the whole of Eastern Europe and had not distracted themselves with Greece, Caucuses, etc… and taken Moscow… they'd still be speaking German today. If you look at what they did with their special actions groups and pogroms against commisars and Jews… they just lost their minds and I think that cost them the war.

20. 20
Ronald Lameck says:

To try to take Moscow at the onset of winter with a severely depleted army at the end of a tenuous supply line that was already experiencing partisan attacks creates a sure recipe for disaster the would make Bonaparte's 1812 seem a picnic by comparison.
1. For the S.U. to launch counter-attacks from 100 km. distance would be no big thing: armour or cavalry could easily traverse that distance in just a few hours.
2. All the rail lines leading toward Moscow would still exist, and the Red Army could move troops forward using armoured trains, as it did with such success in the 1917-21 civil war.
3. The S.U. could attack from north, east and south.
4. If, as you suggest, Kiev Military District withdrew east, that would simply e still more troops & armour available to counter-attack.
a. To gain a completely secure supply line,
b. To drastically shorten the front – freeing up, as a minimum, an entire Armoured Group, if not an entire Army Group.
c. To seize the \second city\ of the U.S.S.R., the spiritual centre of the Soviet ideology – would have a severe negative effect on Soviet moral and a similar extreme positive effect on Nazi morale.
Take Leningrad and have a \slam dunk\ victory, in my view.

21. 21
Ronald Lameck says:

You need to remember that Unternehmen Barbarossa was intended to be a \blitzkrieg\ campaign of just a few weeks duration (\…kick the door in and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.\) After the fact, we can easily see that was a foolish expectation. However, at the time, given Stalin's office corps purges of 37-8 and the abysmal, almost laughable performance of the Red Army against Finland in 1939-40, it was a reasonable one in the purview of many.
Hitler was many things, but original he was not. Virtually everything his Reich did had been done by someone else before. Concentration camps? – Russians against Poles in the Partition c. 1770. British in the Boer War, a few other uses. Gas chambers for executions? – U.S.A., 1924. Treatment of \inferior races\ – U.S. treatment of Natives, gleaned from the Karl May books he so loved; universal treatment of black slaves, etc. It all probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
Re: Greece – Unternehmen Marita happened because of a coup by pro-west Yugoslav officers against the Regency which had just made a pact with the Nazis to be benevolently neutral . The coup caused Hitler to fear the flank of the soon to be launched Barbarossa would be in jeopardy of a British attack. Greece was added to the ledger to bail out the Italian offensive, which had been beaten back and turned into a fiasco. Had there been meaningful communication among the Axis, it would not have been necessary.

22. 22
regertz says:

I agree. Alexander Werth, the British journalist/historian who spent much of WWII in Russia and produced the excellent \Russia at War\, in my opinion, the best single volume history of the Russo-German war 1941-5, stressed the critical importance of the Russian rail system. Losing Moscow in August/September to an all-out early assault would have choked supplies to Leningrad and could easily have led to the fall of Leningrad in October, along with the chance to complete the destruction of the Soviet Southern Front (attacks were launched in the south and north after the Smolensk check) and capture Kiev, Kharkov, even perhaps hold Rostov. The Germans could have had time to dig in to meet any winter counterattacks and been in better position to launch an \oil offensive\ in spring 1942 as well as send more aid to Rommel. Also there is the factor of major prestige loss and at Kuibyshev Stalin's grip would have been weaker…Beria and Molotov might even have found military support for a coup to remove him from power after such disasters or at least to weaken his role, possibly leading to confusion and even collapse.

23. 23
Patrick says:

\he's an idiot for declaring war on usa especially when japan wouldn't declare war on the ussr and back the germans.\

Er…. Japan were fighting the USSR before the Germans were. That is how the Soviets worked out how to do tank warfare. In fact the returning crews turned out to be quite formidable when they swapped their BT7 tanks for T34's.

24. 24
Patrick says:

\ also Japan seeing that Hitler was very likely to beat Russia would have invaded from Manchuria\

Not necessarily. Japan's main problem was lack of oil. Thus its focus was on the Dutch East indies after China. If Germany had defeated the USSR, there could have been a link up. But there was no guarantee they would have provided enough oil. Did the Japanese really just Hitler? probably not.

They also had their asses kicked by the soviets just before Barbarossa at the battle of Khalkhin Gol in sept 1939. By the 1940's Japanese were still a largely infantry army. Their tanks were really not very good and were no match for the T34. So they were better suited for pacific operations. So that would also have influenced them.

25. 25
Neil says:

This is a very interesting discussion. I hope I'm not too late in adding my thoughts.

There are no simple changes that can be made to the German's historic actions that would have resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although many of you have made some really well thought-out points.

The Germans could never beat the Soviets because the USSR is just too big and had too many army reserves. Germany had few army reserves and could never supply its forces as they moved deep into Soviet territory. The German Generals advising Hitler didn't tell him of the logistical nightmare that awaited the German army.

However, even if Germany did defeated the Soviet Union, the victory would have been short-lived as the USA would have nuked Berlin. Roosevelt delayed joining the war against Germany not because he didn't want to stop Hitler, but because he thought Russia and Britain could fight Germany on the USA's behalf (hence, Lend-Lease). Originally, Berlin was to be the first city to be nuked.

And there could never be a cold war between the Germans and the Americans. The Germans never had the intellectual or physical resources required to produce an atom bomb. So, no matter the outcome of German operations in Europe and Russia, the Americans would have still been victorious. After all, no country could directly attack the USA.

The only way the Germans could have had a long-term victory in Russia was if they hadn't attacked France and Britain, and had called for the liberation of the Ukraine and other countries within the USSR. Under this scenario, there would have been no Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact and Poland would have either been neutral or a German ally. The Ukrainians had suffered badly at the hands of Stalin and would have fought the Russians willingly. However, this is not a realistic scenario as it would have required a very different person to Hitler to be leading Germany.

With Hitler and the Nazis in charge of Germany, there was never any prospect of lasting peace between Germany and Russia, or Germany and Britain, or any other combination. And Hitler could never be appeased because every (political or military) victory made him more hungry for more territory and more victories.

Also one minor point, Turkey was a lemon in military terms and would have been no help to the Germans if they had entered the war on their side.

Overall, Hitler's victories were always going to be short-lived. Maybe the war could have last a few more years, but there is no realistic scenario in which the Germans can counter the size of Russia, the millions of Russian army reserves, and Russia's industrial might, as well as America's industrial might and America being the only country that could produce the Atomic bomb.

• 25.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Neil needs to dial back the jingoism a very great deal and acknowledge several realities that he seems to overlook supra.

1. The Soviet Union could have very easily been beaten. It was not an entity like the U.S. (or Germany), which had a concentrated population that generally all spoke the same language, had similar religious and political outlooks, was better educated, and was united by a common outlook on life. It was also still mostly agrarian and not an efficient industrial producer.
Rather, it was collection of regions. Many, if not most, were forced to be part of the union. There were dozens of languages, a wide variety of cultures, numerous religions – which were all being forcibly suppressed – poorer education, a wide range of political differences – which, again, were being forcibly suppressed.
A look at how very quickly and completely the components of the U.S.S.R. scattered like dust in the wind in the early 1990s shows how the identical thing would almost certainly have occurred if the Supreme Soviet had been jeopardised.
As it was, the Axis got important help from Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Cossack populations. Had Leningrad or Moscow fallen, the participation by these rebellious populations would have greatly increased, and many others would have tried to overthrow the union.
In this, Hitler was entirely correct – all that was necessary was to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure would come crashing down. The problem was that the door was not kicked in. The Axis reached the door at Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad, and knocked on it – even pounded on it, but did not kick it in. Had any of those three fallen, it is quite likely that the U.S.S.R. would have imploded, much as it did in the 1990s.
Then, Neil suggests the U.S. would have dropped an atomic bomb on Berlin. He does not elaborate on how this magical act would occur. However, I can easily elaborate on why that would never occur:
. If the Axis was going to defeat the S.U., it would have happened within the first 1 to 1.5 years after attack.
If this happened, the Axis has much, if not most of the vast S.U. resources at its disposal.
This means all the oil it wants.
There is ample area for Luftwaffe pilot training and weapon development. , At least 120 divisions and vast numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft could be permanently removed for use on other fronts. Which means the N. African theatre becomes the focal point of the war. A vastly reinforced Rommel would obliterate the British in Egypt.
The political influence created by the S.U. demise would almost certainly reflect in other neutral or antigonistic nations either joining the Axis or adopting a much more friendly approach.
– Thus, Vichy France would actively resist an operation Torch. Instead of scuttling its fleet at Toulon, it may use them to defend French N. Africa and the French Mediterranean coast.
Spain might actively join the Axis.
The increased Luftwaffe presence in the West would make the Allied bombing campaigns suicidal. – As it was, heavy losses caused the U.S.A.A.F. to suspend daylight raids for several months in 1943-44 until it could create long-range fighters to escort its bombers across the whole of the raid.
But the relaxation of pressure on the German industry would allow more and faster production of the newer Luftwaffe aircraft. The P-51 would be just a smaller cannon fodder for the Me-262, He-162 and FW-183 that would be turned out instead of BF-109 or FW-190.
The 128 mm. radar-guided anti-aircraft gun would be available in greater numbers.
The increased Luftwaffe presence might mean more bombing of British cities instead. Maybe Britain sees reason and just makes peace.
You can have 10,000 atomic bombs, but they are all just a lot of scrap metal if you cannot deliver them to a target – which the U.S.A.A.F. would note able to do. Far better to fight Japan and make accommodation in Europe.

26. 26
John says:

Dear regertz: I full agree with you. I think that the other fellows forget the great importance of the rail lines to troops movements and supplies.
The other important thing, have the germans pressured the Soviets continuosly to Moscow from june 22, they probably take Moscow on september 22, at the most later.
They probably cut the rail lines needed to retreat more facilities, damaging more the SU war effort.
After this, a fortification for autum and winter; at the same time they have time to envelope the flanks, and Leningrad and Kiev, Karkov and Rostov will fall before November. The possesion of the central rail lines will accelerate this, of course, and make the SU resistance nonsense.
One more thing: the TANKS production of Germany was illarious, almost ridiculous for this enterprise. Hilter should start producing 2 or 3 thousand per year from 1938, at later date. Germany produced 10 thousand in 1943 after declaring total war. If he did so, they probably take Moscow and win the war.
Forget the atomic bomb in this analisis.
There are very interestings all the post.
Regards feom Uruguay!

27. 27
Ronald Lameck says:

Many people commenting here seem to overlook the fact that, by the 20th C., wars were fought on a continuous front. The flanks, which could be more or less disregarded in the Napoleonic Era, became vital.
Therefore, the problem with a concentrated thrust at Moscow is that it is too obvious. The Red Army knows exactly where you are headed, and can concentrate all its effort to delay that thrust. Historically, quite clearly the destruction of Kiev Military District cost die Wehrmacht any hope of taking Moscow because of the time it took to accomplish, and the wear on equipment and personnel.
Yet, if no effort was made to destroy or at least neutralise that force, it could have made a devastating attack on the flank of Heeresgruppe Mitte, which would have prevented or at least seriously delayed an attack at Moscow.
Conversely, it could also have detached many of its units to reinforce the Red Army before Vyazma. Suddenly, the sweeping Wehrmacht victory would become an slogging battle of attrition – the sort of thing that the Wehrmacht was ill-prepared for.
I still support a main effort at Leningrad to shorten the line and guarantee the Axis supply line, partisan-proof all year-round.

28. 28
Neil says:

Ronald,

There are so many flaws in your argument I don't know where to begin. So I'll keep my reply simple. The Americans and British had cracked the German codes and had radar. These are two massive advantages, particularly if the Americans wanted to send an aircraft carrier with bombers carrying atomic bombs to Europe. Or they could simply launch their bombers from Britain, East Africa, East Russia, etc. Remember the Americans would resort to one-way, suicide missions if necessary (e.g. Doolittle raid on Japan). The power of possessing the atomic bomb cannot be underestimated. It was a game-changer.

I realise that the USSR is comprised of many nations with different cultures, languages, etc. But what you've failed to realise is that the USSR had millions of army reserves. And a system of control, in Stalin and the NKVD, that was very effective in mobilising the people of the USSR in terms of industry and the military. There is no way that the USSR would crumble if Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad were lost. Stalin was prepared for this outcome.

Also, if you read about industrialisation, you'll find that it was Russia that was ahead of Germany. Remember, German tanks were not mass produced. Each tank was produced by a small team of craftsmen. This meant parts were not interchangable and repairs on the battlefield were difficult.

What you also fail to realise is that Germany had inferior tanks and weapons at the start of Operation Barbarossa. And they only had a few hundred thousand army reserves. They were running short of resources. Every territory they occupied further stretched their resources and manpower. And local peoples resisted fiercely.

If the Germans had taken all of the Western USSR, it would have taken years before they would have gained the benefits. The Russians were prepared to destroy the oil wells and refineries at Baku. Building oil wells and refineries takes year!

Remember, Hitler hated Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Cossack peoples. It wasn't until the Germans were desperate in 1942 that they started actively recruiting from these populations. The people of the USSR had two choices: Surrender to Hitler and become slaves (and probably be killed or starved to death), or fight the Germans. Not much of a choice! While many people hated Stalin, Hitler was even less tolerant. He wanted to kill everyone in the Ukraine so it could be populated with German farmers.

As I said, there is simply no realistic scenario in which Germany can beat the USSR and win World War II. America would have never appeased Hitler. Their late entry into the war was only because they thought that Britain and the USSR would take care of Hitler for them. They would have entered the war sooner if Britain or the USSR collapsed (which as I have argued is highly unlikely).

Ronald – Stop with the magical thinking and leaps in logic. The fall of Moscow would have certainly lengthened the war, but it wasn't a game-changer.

29. 29
psujoe says:

Germans lost the war when they couldn't defeat the western front and invaded Russia. Absent their not defeating Britain they needed to embrace the non Russian countries, the biggest of which is the Ukraine whose citizens hated Russia.Failing that they really need to stay on point as far as objectives. Pick one, Leningrad or Moscow. Secure the objective and go from there. A strong pivot from Leningrad would've been a huge asset. Decimation of the Moscow industrial railroad center would be as well. Can't divide forces like this.

30. 30
Baybars says:

It is interesting that most counterfactuals about WW2 in the Eastern European theatre look at a hypothetical scenario where the Germans would not make mistakes they did make whereas the Russians would make all the mistakes that actually were made. That logic seems to neglect that changing behaviour of one side may well affect the behaviour of the other side too. For instance, had Yugoslavia not had a coup on 27th March 1941 and not been invaded on 6th April, perhaps it would have finally dawned on Stalin that Hitler was happy to leave his old enemy, the Serbs, alone in order to stay on course set in Mein Kampf. Perhaps Stalin would have then at least avoided some of the Soviet's grave mistakes that helped Germans so much during the border battles.By the same token, had Hitler pushed for Moscow without taking Kiev, Stalin might have taken advantage of enemy's overstretched supply lines to attack their flanks and perhaps make Germany's ultimate defeat come much sooner than it did. And so on and so for.

31. 31
John says:

I agree with you, psujoe. The objetives of Barbarossa they would be conquered one by one, trough very strong blitzkrieg type attack. The number one, withouth doubt, was Moscow. If the Germans allow Guderian to continue trough Moscow, and the Panzer reserves of two thousand (pleaes read my earlier post) come to the front, he could conquer moscow. The flank SU forces are not of danger, because infantery forces at this time, not mecanized, and withouth air superiority, can not attack the germans because of they lack of mobility. Remember that the soviet counter attacks of 1941 never ended in victory, but in a blod bath against less but well supplied German Forces. In this argumentation, please read GENERAL RAUS \Panzer Operations\. Withouth a trusted supplie line, with food and ammunition, very strong russian forces were defeated by less german forces. One more point: Moscow fall means to me the defeat of the SU, but we do not know what could hapen with the entire war.

32. 32
John says:

Dear Baybar: you are true, there are more hypotesis \ what could hapen if….\ About German mistakes, than Soviet Union mistakes.
Perhaps the great gamble of Hitler is a very interesting thinking, because he made a Poker lay, instead of deep and cientific analysis of German real capabilities of victory. I always remenber when he said in 1941 that if he would knew the size of SU army forces, he would never start the war against them.

33. 33
psujoe says:

I agree that Moscow should've been the main objective once the invasion began. It was referenced earlier that Germany wasn't on a \total war\ footing until 1943. Just terrible planning and short sighted. Even using second shifts in production alone would've provided much needed equipment and supplies(on the western front as well). Capture of Moscow by September sure would've hampered Russian logistics North, South and West of Moscow. The Germans could've cut off the armies in the Ukraine at that point and straightened out the defensive line. No guarantee of German victory, but if they hold Moscow until Spring it sure would seem possible a Spring/Summer 1942 offensive could've been decisive.

34. 34
John says:

Thank you for your comments, Mr. Psujoe! Really you are the first one that, knowing a lot about WWII, agree with me.
Of course, it is a simple elucubration / suposition of both.

I would kindly ask you two things:
1- do you think that if Germany concuerde Leningrad at the end of July, when they arrived to the Luga river but stopped for a month, this punch could make they win the entire campaign in 1941?

2- do you know why they stopped for a month in the Luga, instead of use the Luftwaffe transport capabilities to advance fuel and ammunition, and close the ring around Leningrad?
Tahnk you and
Regards from Uruguay!

35. 35
psujoe says:

I'd like to know why you think Germany could've tken Leningrad by the end of July?

I am always puzzled by the lack of air transport in the German attack plan. They had total command of the skies over Russia, but no Heavy bombers and poor usage of their transport planes.

36. 36
John says:

Dear psujoe: I 've read that Manstein Panzer korps ( first Pz army) conquered the bridge over the Dvina in five days, after the june 22; and in a month they arrived to the Luga River, perhaps 100 km from Leningrad. But, because the infantry remained too on the rear, they do nit try to conquer the city by a coup the main. The ground ( forest, swamp) qnd of course the Russian reinforcement that come in a hurry, stopped them. But, a more decisive air supply and perhaps aerotransportated mission, could at least seal the ring around the city. One book that I' ve read said this, is not my idea. The mistake was the same that in France the earlier year at Dukerque: to stop the panzers to wait the infantry. It is not necesary, because the confusion and lack of mobility of the enemy, the German air superiority, make the Russian quite paralized. This is the point, I guess. Waiting for the infantry, the Russians had a month to build trenches, the population (also women) in number of thenth of thousands reinforced the army and the engineering works (obstacles, antitank trenches, etc.)

37. 37
Keith says:

All the Nazi should have scenarios are pointless. If the Nazis had hung on through additional victories on the eastern front for another five months the direct result would have been the nuclear attacks on Germany rather than on Japan. Hitler himself would have been hard pressed to survive an atom bomb, even in his Berlin bunker. The allies knew of his location through ultra. Politically, the result of nuclear strikes would also have lead to his over throw even if Hitler did survive the nuke strikes. In the end the Nazis never had a chance of winning ww2 against the soviets and the americans. If Adolph had not declared war against the americans the Nazis may have survived to defeat the soviets, since there was considerable sympathy for the Nazis in America and hatred of the communists. Britain without American assistance could not have sustained a war against the third reich, Once the Nazis were engaged on a war of two fronts the Nazis were doomed.

38. 38
Kevin Gallagher says:

39. 39
Ronald Lameck says:

Neil: I am irked that a lengthy reply I made to supra some time ago is, for some reason, not here. I try to reproduce at least its gist herein:

1: You accept without question the highly dubious claim first made by William Stephenson in his book A Man Called Intrepid (or, as its vast army of critics call it, A Man Called Insipid).
If you can read all the messages of your enemy, whom you outnumber by at least 5 to 1 in manpower, not to mention natural resources, but still need more than 5 yrs., 8 mo. to defeat him, while incurring VASTLY more casualties, then you must be the All-Time Incompetent Buffoons.
Just a couple examples of how ludicrous this claim is:
a. Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein – the 2d Battle of the Ardennes, or so-called Battle of the Bulge. By the published admissions of Eisenhower, Montgomery, Bradley, Hodges, Patton, etc., etc., this attack by THIRTY divisions caught the Allies completely by surprise..
b. The major argument used ex post facto to justify the Allied terror-bombing of Dresden in mid-Feb. 1945 was that it would prevent the transfer to the eastern front of Panzerarmee 6 (SS), which had been the main force employed in the Ardennes. But at that time, that army was ALREADY in the east, in Hungary. It was transferred through Regensburg, some 260 Km. to the southwest of Dresden.

2. You posit the U.S.N. could send an aircraft carrier with bombers carrying atomic bombs to Europe. But no aircraft carrier extant at the time was wide enough or long enough to launch a bomber loaded with the A-bomb of the time. The only aircraft able to carry such a bomb a significant distance was the B-29, FAR too large for any aircraft carrier of the time.
You posit that the aircraft could fly from Britain. But there was no guarantee the bomb would be effective. Even the July 1945 test gave cause for doubt about what would actually happen. There is extreme doubt that the British government would allow such a flight from its territory – or even allow use of the weapon at all. The A-bomb was an unknown quantity.
But what WAS known is that Germany had huge numbers of V-2 rockets, which flew so high & fast as to be indefensible. It was also at least strongly suspected on reasonable & probably grounds that Germany had a large stock of sophisticated chemical weapons (nerve gas, etc.). It would be very easy to make such stuff the warhead of a large salvo of V-2s. The ONLY reason Germany never used these weapons, even in the last hours, was due to the objection of Hitler, who was a gas casualty in WWI. The risk of this happening was far too great. No British government that allowed a mass attack by such a weapon would survive the week. To paraphrase the bi-polar drunkard British P.M., there are things up with which the British people would not put.
Finally, the Doolittle raid on Tokyo (vastly over-blown by U.S. propaganda) was NEVER designed as a suicide raid, any more than any other bombing raid was. Its plan was to have the B-25s fly on to mainland China and land (even if a forced landing) there. Which is what DID happen.
Possessing an A-bomb was NOT a so-called game-changer, much as you might so wish it to be. The Allies were NEVER sure until after VE-Day how far German development of an atomic, or even a dirty bomb was. They might well have found the Nazis had it too – MEGA OOPS! (Again, so much for the Insipid claim of reading codes.)

3. ANY army could have millions of reserves. But if those reserves choose to not fight,there are no Ghostbusters you can call to make them. It is very common in wars for troops of the losing side to simply vanish. They want no part of being the last man to die in a futile war. It has happened in probably every war ever fought – the famous U.S. Army big skedaddle after being routed before Washington D.C. in August 1814, & the invisible Republican Guard in the 1st Gulf War being just a couple of examples. The N.K.V.D. were human too, with mothers, fathers, wives, children, etc. There comes a point when you do not merely say NO to the guy issuing the order, but when you just point your gun & blow him away. Do svidanye Iosif Vissarionovich!

4. You have an immense misunderstanding of German vs. Soviet industry. German armour was not hand built – it was a much more sophisticated piece of equipment. The Germans were past-masters at improvisation & at jury-rigging repairs. Most of Red ARmy troops were so poorly educated & trained that they could scarcely operate their machines, & showed almost no initiative in using them. No S.U.tank had a radio – the company leader would issue orders by waving coloured signal flags from his opened turret hatch. ALL German ones had radios – the best of any army in the war, at that. They also had vastly superior gun sights. The German larger tanks were had a crew of 5, the Soviet tanks of only 4.
The Soviets themselves noted how, in 1941, it was nothing at all for a German tank to travel 200 Km., but S.U. ones would be virtually guaranteed to break down at least once in that distance. For much of the war, T-34 crews carried a spare transmission on the back of the tank because the installed units were of such poor quality. These reasons, and the far superior German tactics & crew training, were why, even in the last days of the war, the German army had a huge kill ratio vis-a-vis the S.U.

5. The S.U. citizens did NOT fiercely resist die Wehrmacht. A tiny number were partisans – most of these were Red Army soldiers who had been cut off, or who were parachuted behind lines. Most of this was done in winter 41-42. That more than 1 million children were left behind by the evacuating Wehrmacht who were fathered by German troops is perhaps the greatest rebuttal of your claim that can be made. (B.T.W. – more than 250,000 in France – so much for the ex post facto much-vaunted Maquis)

6. Re: oil well destruction. The wells destroyed in the 1st Gulf War were almost all operational within a year. That ones allegedly destroyed by the Red Army in the Caucasus take any longer is something you claim, but offer no support for. I live in Alberta (a.k.a. Oil Country), where your claim is met by mirth. Further – this presupposes that the local people would allow this destruction to go forward. HUGE numbers of the populace of the Caucasus were very co-operative, even friendly to die Wehrmacht.

7. You claim about the S.U. peoples also does not bear scrutiny. They were not employed in 1941 for the very simple reasons that
a. Germany expected – hoped – to put paid to the S.U. in 1941. These people were not needed.
b. They were considered of dubious quality – although events proved many of them fought with distinction.
c. It takes time to recruit, train, equip & move troops into the field.
d. There were large numbers of Red Army men who were captured & then served as Hilfwillgen (willing helpers) throughout the war & on all fronts. They were much of the service & supply, artillery troops, etc. In Normandy in 1944, about 50% of the German artillery was actually captured Soviet 152 mm. guns. Most of this was manned by ex-Red Army men.

8. The late U.S. entry into the war was because it would NOT have been there at all, save for the manifest provocation of Roosevelt. His embargo of oil supplies to Japan made the Pacific war a virtual certainty. Had Hitler not supported his (largely useless) eastern ally by declaring against the U.S., it would have devoted its primary effort against Japan.

9. Had the S.U. collapsed – which would have been quite likely had the suggestions I made supra been carried out – the moral or propaganda value to Germany would have been immense. As noted, Vichy France (with its sizable fleet) & Spain would probably have joined the Axis. Turkey would have salivated at the chance of acquiring some of the S.U. empire.
Even the bi-polar drunkard may have realised a few years earlier that it is better to jaw jaw than to war war.

There were absolutely ZERO examples of so-called magical thinking or leaps of logic in MY notes supra. Many in your, yes. But none in mine.
The fall of LENINGRAD (my premise) would have led to the fall of Moscow, which would have led to the end of the S.U.. This would have ensured Axis supply. No one in N. America would give a tinkers dam about what went on in Europe thereafter.

• 39.1
Neil says:

Ronald,

Your passion for history is admirable. However, there are numerous flaws in your arguments. Have you heard of confirmation bias? You are cherry picking the evidence that supports your argument, while dismissing any evidence that doesn’t support your argument. Why are you so desperate to believe that the Nazis should have been victorious? For some reason you seem to think that the Wehrmacht were unbeatable and that all of the mistakes made are attributable to Hitler. Such reasoning is very silly.

I really can’t be bothered arguing with you because I know that it doesn’t matter what I say, you will continue cherry picking the evidence. The actions of the Nazi and Wehrmacht were not honourable or humane; they brutalised much of Europe and eastern S.U. The peoples of Poland and Ukraine suffered terribly at the hands of the Nazis (and Soviets). Please reconsider your worship of these thugs.

A few points that you can’t refute (but I know you will try to ignore):

- The Soviet Union demonstrated a tremendous resilience in the face of the German advance. They had millions of well-trained army reserves. They were mass-producing equipment that was better suited to the winter conditions than the German’s equipment. The Soviet Union won the war precisely because Stalin, the Communist party and the NKVD were prepared to sacrifice everything to stop the Germans and knew how to motivate the many peoples of the S.U. There were no mass defections or refusals to fight, despite shortages of weapons and ammunition, the loss of millions of men and dwindling resources. Be grateful that you did not have to endure such hardship. The loss of Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad wouldn’t have changed anything; the Soviets were prepared for such a loss.

- Together, the British and Americans demonstrated an incredible resourcefulness and innovativeness during the war. The Germans only had a vague idea of how to make an Atomic bomb; they also didn’t have the capabilities to produce a bomb. If given half a chance, the Americans would have used the Atomic bomb on the Germans. The Americans would have found a way to bomb the Germans if the war was going badly. Planes can be modified after all.

- There were no limits to Hitler’s ambition. Had he beaten the S.U., he would have kept going. This was his downfall; he didn’t know when to stop. Hitler would never quit while he was winning. Roosevelt knew this fact, which is why he was determined to stop the Germans before the Japanese. The Americans knew the Germans were the real threat, not the Japanese.

- The only reason the Germans advanced as far as they did is because the British, French and Soviets choose to appease Hitler in an effort to avoid war. If the French had attacked the Germans following the invasion of Poland, there would have been no WWII. If Stalin hadn’t trusted Hitler, the Germans would have been stopped within 100 miles of the Soviet border. The Germans pushed their luck to breaking point and the result was the total destruction of Germany.

To sum, I agree that it is possible that the Germans could have captured Leningrad and/or Moscow. But this would never have changed the outcome of WWII; it would have only extended the war by a few months.

• 39.1.1
Editor, HistoryNet says:

Neil, you and Ronald are putting forth some excellent arguments and counterarguments from which other readers can learn and perhaps they will be prompted to do more research on their own into the subject; that is what we hope for in these comments on HistoryNet.

Unfortunately, both you and Ronald are also engaging in the sort of personal put-downs we don't allow on HistoryNet. Please restrict your posts to reasoned arguments without the put-downs.

—Editor, HistoryNet

40. 40
Ronald Lameck says:

Keith: You conclude what you conclude because that is what you want to conclude. Additional victories in the east for die Wehrmacht would not have meant a merely delaying things a few months – it would have meant a fundamental change in the course of the war.
In spring 1943, Ribbentrop & Molotov had talks aimed at a mutually-agreed peace. This, despite the recent Soviet victory at Stalingrad & the Western decision for unconditional surrender as the only basis to end the war.
An eastern peace in spring 1943 would have meant the vast German troops, armour & aircraft historically devoted to the Kursk battles could be moved west. The attack on Sicily would have faced very heavy opposition by air & land forces, & would almost certainly have been pushed back into the Mediterranean. There would have been no landing in Italy that year.
Because of the vastly increased Luftwaffe presence, the evisceration the U.S.A.A.F. historically experienced at Schweinfurt that August would have been general at all of its targets. After Schweinfurt, it ceased raids for 5 months until long-range escorts could support the bombers. But the much larger Luftwaffe could still make short work of things.
As a result, development of weapons could go faster & in greater numbers.
Without writing a book or being repetitive to issues I have already argued elsewhere in this forum, there would almost surely not have been an Allied attack in west Europe in 1944. There would have been vast numbers of Me-262, He-162 & even Ta-183 jets to keep the skies clear.
There would be no nuclear attack as it would likely not be agreed to be Britain, which would bear repercussion. Even if attempted, it would be unlikely to get through.
As for this ULTRA nonsense – the repetition needed to put that bugbear to bed! In spring 1945, the Western Allies had no idea where Hitler was. That was why they sent raids to bomb die Berghof. The first they knew of where he was came from German reports as Berlin was being surrendered.

• 40.1
Neil says:

Ronald,

I repeat – stop cherry picking the evidence. There is no credible reason to believe that there would be a lasting peace between the Germans and Soviets, while Hitler lived. Hitler hated the Soviets.

Also, Ultra was extremely successful. The Allies were taken by surprise in the Ardennes and they didn't know where Hitler was at all times, but this doesn't mean Ultra was a failure.

German jet fighters produced on mass years earlier than did occur would certainly have made a huge difference to the length of the war and, perhaps, the outcome. But such a change to history requires a lot of improbable "what ifs".

41. 41
Ronald Lameck says:

Kevin: I have never watched History Channel. I have seen enough programs on P.B.S. that were rife with inaccuracies and propaganda. This is why I got interested in history in the 1st place – my father was a great Paul Bunyan or Baron von Munchhausen. I learned from a young age to research everything he said, so I have scoured myriad books, etc,.
My belief that the main target of Barbarossa should have been Leningrad is based around the following:
Discounting the Finnish front, to attack the Soviet Union (S.U.) from the west & go as far as the Ural Mts. (the planned extent of the German effort), one finds it widens like a reversed funnel, with Moscow situated more-or-less in the middle.
As you advance further east, you need ever-more troops to create a continuous front. The attack spearhead loses force as troops are detached to hold the expanding line.
Meanwhile, the defender needs only to practice the standard technique used against an attempted deep penetration – hold the shoulders (flanks). As the attacked plunges ever-deeper, his spearhead is in ever-increasing jeopardy of losing force due to an ever-longer supply line & of being cut off & destroyed in detail.
Die Wehrmacht recognised this problem, which was why a large force was temporarily detached from the spearhead to destroy the S.U. left shoulder – Kiev Military District. As a result, the deepest 1941 German penetration was by Heeresgruppe Sud , which reached Rostov-on-Don before being beaten back to the Mius R.
An attempt was made to destroy the S.U. right shoulder – Leningrad Military District. This was not successful, resulting in a WWI-like long & deadlocked front which was west of the main German effort.
Moscow was seen as the political heart – but the politicians & bureaucracy had already been moved further east. (Just as in 1940 the French had moved their politicians & bureaucracy south to Vichy before Paris was captured).
It was a communications hub, yes, but less so from the west than it was from the east. To capture it alone, with the S.U. still holding one flank & Moscow in the middle would mean little. Napoleon captured Moscow in 1812. It meant nothing. He had to retreat from it & lost the campaign.
Whereas Leningrad was the key. It would always be the ideological heart of the S.U. version of Communism – named after the man who brought about the revolution. The propaganda & moral effect of its capture would have been an incalculable disaster for the S.U.leadership, for the people, & for the world-political regard for the S.U. Previous neutrals like Vichy France, Spain, Turkey & possibly even Sweden may have joined the Axis, seeing the demise of the S.U\ as a strong likelihood. Even war-monger Churchill may have reconsidered peace.
Of course, all I wrote supra about the shorter Axis front, likely fall of Murmansk, etc., would also apply.
What I find odd about the German attack on the S.U. is that Hitler was a political animal. It astonishes that he seemed to not recognise these advantages, even though he had at least 16 years from his mention of crushing the S.U. in Mein Kampf to work out the best way to do so. But the attack ended up like a child in a candy store, dashing from side to side, from counter to counter, lusting over this or that sweet, never able to make up his mind. A golden opportunity missed.

• 41.1
Neil says:

Ronald,

I agree with everything in your post up to the point where you claim the loss of Leningrad "would have been an incalculable disaster…" This is the point where you stop using logic and evidence to support your argument. If the Germans had focused on Leningrad, the Soviets would have acted very differently. You haven't accounted for the Soviet's likely response to a German spearhead aimed at Leningrad only. The Germans had three army groups because they wanted to overwhelm the Soviets. It worked. But they didn't know that the Soviets had millions of well trained army reserves; the Germans simply didn't have the army reserves and logistical support to beat the Soviets. End of story!

42. 42
Ronald Lameck says:

Neil:
Since you toss basic social psychology around, try to address your fundamental attribution error. There is no so-called cherry picking in my note supra – save that whenever I refute one of your issues, you dig up another to profess is decisive. This means, like St. George battling the dragon, I must address & refute it too. Because this complex issue involves vast distances & millions of humans across years, in the interest of brevity, I counter only that issue & nothing more. Otherwise, I could write hundreds of pages. You do not perceive this because you are too occupied in a vain effort to find something that is irrefutable.
You harbour a misguided belief that I am somehow desperate to belief the AXIS – not merely Nazis – should have been victorious. There is no foundation for your assertion whatsoever. It is all in the past, & further in the past with every tick of the clock. I merely point out the lost opportunity, noting that even the unfortunate Churchill himself said allegedly said in retrospect that We killed the wrong pig.
I DO think it would have been far better for the world overall, and eastern Europe in particular, had the S.U. government been obliterated – the foul baboonery, as the unfortunate Churchill called it. Then the quality of life enjoyed there over the last 20 years could have been enjoyed from the end of the war, as it would not have been overrun by the Red Army & made into a combination Gulag & colony at least as oppressive & probably far more economically damaging than anything Hitler envisioned for the S.U. lands. But that is a digression.
To argue the Nazis & or Wehrmacht brutalised any part of Europe or the S.U. is to pretend the S.U. did not do so to a far worse degree – which the millions of people living in those lands today who lived under both regimes will refute. Not one of hundreds I have spoken to have anything useful to say about the S.U. – not even its former citizens.
It also overlooks that the Western Allies were guilty of a large number of crimes & atrocities. Truly a matter of Let the one who is without sin throw the 1st stone. By far the best solution would have been for Britain & its reluctant French sycophant to have just kept their imperialistic noses out of the issue.
The points YOU think are irrefutable are easily refuted.

1. The S.U. won the war precisely because of the immense aid it was given in Lend-Lease by the West – millions of tons of food. Vast amounts of medical supplies, radios, tools & parts. Vast amounts of ammunition. More than 20,000 tanks (which, as already noted, the S.U. valued highly) – including about 3,750 M4 Sherman tanks. More than 30,000 aircraft. At least 1 battleship. Full & detailed itemisation is not REALLY necessary, I hope but, if you wish to remain an obstinate contrarian, that can be done.
To contend that there were no mass defections of refusals to fight among the S.U. citizenry or troops is to be either painfully ignorant or wiIfully blind.
The German Cossack Corps, the Russian Liberation Army, the vast numbers of ex-Red Army Hilfwilligen – all that & much more your overlook.
You are in the land of mythology if you think loss of Leningrad, Moscow & Stalingrad would not have meant anything. That is borderline delusion.

2. Here we go with your A-bomb mania once again. I despise repetition, but your seeming lack of reading comprehension makes it necessary – NO ONE knew how far along Germany was in nuclear research until after the war. But it was known or at least very strongly suspected that Germany possessed advanced chemical weapons & the means to deliver them to British cities with utter impunity. You magical dream of American ingenuity
overrides all logic. This tack of yours has already been obliterated. Move on.

3. You insist on contriving a wholly false contention about Hitler & his long-term plans. The man did, or at least tried to do everything he said he would, & to a degree that may be unprecedented among political persona throughout history. He did NOT do, & did not try to do any of the things he did not say he would do. That simple. What Roosevelt knew was the Britain was not in any sort of condition to endure decades-long war, as it did in the Napoleonic era. So to attack Germany was the best way to ensure British survival in order to get it & its Empire to help overcome Japan (which, after all, was chiefly attacking British interests in the Pacific.)

4. France DID attack Germany after the invasion of Poland began. In May 1939, the French government promised the Polish government in a solemnly signed treaty that it would attack Germany No less than 15 days after mobilisation.
On 7 Sep. 1939, eleven divisions of French troops attacked along a 32 km. front near Saarbrucken. They advanced 8 km., capturing at least 12 villages & small towns that German reserve troops evacuated. Four R35 tanks were destroyed by mines.
This was supposed to be the start of a general offensive by the French Second Army Group, which was to involve 40 divisions, of which one was to be armoured, 3 mechanised, supported by 78 artillery regiments & 40 additional tank battalions
On 10 Sep., a German counter-attack re-captured a village, but the French re-occupied it hours later.
On 12 Sep. French troops captured Brenschelbach, the largest municipality taken in the offensive. But the offensive was aborted after the French occupied the heavily-mined Warndt Wald, without reaching the Westwall (Siegfried Line).in the Saarland.
Not a single German soldier was diverted as result of the attack. On 16-17 October, die Wehrmacht, now reinforced with troops returning from Fall Grun in Poland, easily re-took the occupied German territory as the French
withdrew. To 17 Oct., French losses were about 2,000 dead, wounded or sick. German losses were 196 dead, 114 missing, 356 wounded & 11 aircraft. Anyone who studied history rather than limiting to watching television programs would know this.
To say Stalin trusted Hitler is to be a reader of Pravda. There was never any trust between the two. In June 1941, the Red Army on its western border was aligned in an OFFENSIVE posture. It was beaten back with immense losses because it was out-fought by a force that was better trained & used superior tactics. Even in the last hours of the war, German units met & overcame vastly larger & better-equipped S.U. forces – a point readily & frankly admitted by all in the ex-S.U. who did not write the Official History.
To sum, Neil, you just go right on believing all the bovine scatology you wish to if it makes you feel better. But do NOT purport to know anything about history. You only embarrass yourself with that contention.

• 42.1
Editor, HistoryNet says:

Ronald, you and Neil are putting forth some excellent arguments and counterarguments from which other readers can learn and perhaps they will be prompted to do more research on their own into the subject; that is what we hope for in these comments on HistoryNet.

Unfortunately, both you and Neil are also engaging in the sort of personal put-downs we don't allow on HistoryNet. Please restrict your posts to reasoned arguments without the put-downs.

—Editor, HistoryNet

43. 43
Neil says:

Ronald,

I apologize if my remarks have caused any personal offense. That was not my intent. I have enjoyed debating the issues with you, but I realize my choice of words could have been more careful at times.

You obviously have a very good knowledge of WWII. My basic issue is that, I believe, it is very difficult to construct a credible argument for how the Nazis could have won the war without making fundamental changes to the original timeline (which have unpredictable consequences).

The main reason for believing this is the fact that Germany didn't have the resources and capabilities for a prolonged war. While Hitler and his Generals knew this fact, they didn't have a clear plan for stopping the war. Hitler had a warped sense of the concept \survival of the fittest\. He predicted that following the German victory in Europe/Russia, there would be an intercontinental war with North America. The war would only end after the Germanic people were in total control of the whole world. With such an unreasonable goal, it was only a matter of time before Germany would be beaten. And this is what actually happened. (I note that Hitler's views on how the war would progress were spelt out in his books: Mein Kampf and Zweites Buch.)

Under such conditions, there are no \simple\ changes to the original timeline that can be made that would result in a German victory in the long-term. I admit (and have already stated) that German could have taken Leningrad, Moscow or other cities, but I maintain that this wouldn't have mattered in the long-term because of (1) Hitler's and the Nazi's ambition, (2) Soviet's ability to mobilize and motivate its many peoples, and (3) British/American advantages in resources and innovation.

I keep mentioning the Atomic bomb because it was an incredible technological breakthrough and was a game changer. Following the successful detonation of an atomic bomb in July 1945, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the Americans possessed a weapon of unequaled power. I believe that they were resourceful enough to find a way to drop the bomb on Germany had the war been prolonged for some reason.

As for your rebuttal of my points:
1. I never denied Lend-Lease was important. I mentioned it in my first post to this forum. And of course, the Soviets had some discipline issues. But that doesn't change the fact that the Soviets were really good at mobilizing and motivating their people to fight the Germans. This is a fact of history.

2. Not knowing the state of Germany's atomic program is a very good reason why America wanted to stop the Nazis before dealing with the Japanese. Also, it is a good reason to use the Atomic bomb on Germany before they were in a position to do so. I doubt Hitler would sign up to the \mutually assured destruction\ doctrine of the Cold War.

Germany didn't use chemical weapons in the war because the Allies had effective counter measures, e.g. wide spread availability of gas masks.

3. Again, Hitler's own words tell us that he aimed for domination of eastern Europe and western Russia in the short-term and world domination in the long-term. He didn't believe that the Soviets were a real military threat. Psychologically, Hitler would never stop the war if he was winning. That is obvious from his writings, speeches and actions.

4. The French attack on the Germans was not well planned and lacked conviction. If the British and French has really tried to stop the Germans and defend Poland, things would have been very different. But following my own advice, the outcome is difficult to predict. So, I will concede this point. However, I still maintain that the appeasement of Hitler and Stalin's trust of Hitler were major errors and gave Hitler misplaced confidence to start the war.

Finally, my personal view is that the world would have been better if Hitler, Stalin and Mao had never come to power. These dictators are responsible for the deaths of millions. To quote Churchill, \Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.\ History supports this view.

44. 44
Allan says:

Senario = Army Group NNW (North North West – fictious) makes a massive push from Lenigrad to Moscow – distance 731km – Amry Group Centre makes a push as per Barbarossa – Armt Goup south takes the oil fields in the Caurcaus region. Result – the Baltic States are cut off and with German naval power (the only region they were effective) easy meat for Army Goup North. Moscow secureed for the up and coming winter months and Russia split….interesting

45. 45
Ronald Lameck says:

The main point is that Hitler intended – hoped or expected that the invasion would be a blitzkrieg, much like Fall Gelb in the west. The populations in those areas were rather well-treated initially. Relations with them began to fall apart after the Soviet winter counter-offensive, when the Wehrmacht was at times in headlong retreat. It lost forever its mystique of invincibility – to the citizens of the occupied lands, to the Wehrmacht itself, & to all of its opponents. Then the large numbers of Red Army men who had been cut off from their units & Soviet command decided to stick with the Devil they knew just in case the Wehrmacht was not successful. It was only during early 1942 that serious partisan acts occurred.
Support for the Vlasov R.L.A. would have been a huge issue of trust. As it was, many captured Soviets became Hilfwilligen, working in the supply & service, or active soldiers in the West (chiefly manning artillery). But the risk of treachery by a large number of R.L.A. would have been too great to bear. Even if they proved ineffective as troops, that would have been a disaster. – Look what happened in the winter of 42-3 when the Rumanian, Hungarian & Italian armies, despite many desperate, valiant efforts, simply melted away before the better-equipped Red Army.
No. The war was lost because none of the three major centres fell – Leningrad, Moscow & Stalingrad. The loss of their productive capacity as well as the effect on morale would have been fatal to the S.U.

46. 46
Section9 says:

A German victory before Moscow almost certainly would have involved a couple of things.

- Army Group South pressing directly east to pin down the RKKA so that it could not mount an offensive into Von Bock's flank.

- German war industry going at full tilt to total war production a full year before June of 1941 so the Wehrmacht had enough supplies for a full tempo of operations for six to nine months. Georing was still running a guns and butter economy deep into 1942, with the result that trucks and armor were running out of replacement parts in July.

-Perhaps the addition of Pz Gp I into Group Center to add some heft to the push on Moscow.

All of this, if successful leads to two things, IMHO;

1. Primary American concentration on the Pacific War, although Germany does declare war on the United States and eventually falls into FDR's trap. The Pacific War ends a lot quicker, although there is the question of Operation DOWNFALL to deal with.

2. OVERLORD cannot happen in Northwestern Europe because of overwhelming local German superiority. The Anglo-Americans need space where their strategic bombing platforms can impact a large scale ground offensive. So I believe in this counter factual, the Allies invade through Iran and the Caucuses, the not-so-soft underbelly of Southeastern Europe.

Jmho.

47. 47
JP says:

One cannot ignore the deplorable state of the German panzers in late September 1941. Some panzer divisions, like Model's 3rd Panzer, had fought non-stop since 22 June. Once the Kiev operation was finished, Model had barely 35 panzers ready action.The famous 7th Panzer, which began the campaign with a large allotment of Czech 38t tanks was down to only 40 panzers in total. Yes, the Germans did bring up 2 panzer divisions from the Balkens (the 5th and 12th); but their total number of panzers for the entire Central Front was barely 1000 (of which 450 belonged to the 5th and 12th Panzers).

Additionally, the supply chain for Army Group Center was at a breaking point. Less than 40% of the railroads had been converted to the Soviet guage; roaming partisan bands frequently ambushed the German convoys; and to be frank, the German industrial base just wasn't up to the task. As a consequence, General Hoth, commander of Panzer Group 3, complained of severe fuel shortages after just the 1st day of Typhoon. Guderian's panzers didn't have enough fuel to make it to their Orel way point. And as a consequence, Guderian had mark time for 3-4 days to allow his tanks to fuel up.

Over-all, German oil and gas production was halved by October 1941. The German Army used up their entire allotment of fuel, lubricants, oil, rubber and other materials by the end of summer. Food production could barely keep up, as imports from South America, Turkey, Asia, and the Middle East slowed to a trickle. Finally, the Germans had only 435,000 reserves of soldiers to cover any losses. By October 1941, their total losses were at 480,000. They simply did not possess the manpower for another campaign. The shortage of manpower, especially in the infantry would later force the Wehrmacht to reduce the number of men per platoon to 3 squads instead of 4. Many regiments would be reduced to just 2 battalions. The Germans could replace lost panzers; but they never could replace the loss of their infantry.

48. 48
Section9 says:

There was a staff study attached to FRITZ, one of the early iterations of BARBAROSSA, that indicated to Halder and his staff that the Wehrmacht had supplies and POL for some five to six hundred miles into European Russia. Basically, the Wehrmacht would run out of steam between Smolensk and Vyazma.

That's basically what happened.

Now had German industry been converted to a full war footing in 1939 as the British had been, for example, the supply question might have been ameliorated somewhat. But I'm not sure that the attrition of manpower in the Heer could have been staunched.

Russian units were resisting fanatically primarily because of barbaric German conduct against captured Russian soldiers on the ground, the Wehrmacht didn't make surrender in the interest of the average Russian soldier.

49. 49
Tony says:

I have seen the argument in many places, including in this discussion, that a Soviet defeat would have allowed the Germans to concentrate their military in the west, with dire consequences for the Allies. While it is no doubt true that 200 additional German divisions in France would greatly alter the outlook, is that really what would have happened?

Let's assume that Barbarossa is 100% successful and the "Archangel to Astrakhan" line is secured by the end of 1941. What happens then? Conquering territory is one thing. Holding it is quite another. Consider:

1) Germany now controls a truly vast area, larger and more populous than Germany itself. That population is seething with discontent, a situation that will only worsen with time as Nazi plans for the East become more apparent. The Heer cannot simply pack up and head west. The air and heavy armour units probably can, but a great many infantry units will have to remain to keep the country under at least some level of control.

2) The Soviet state might not survive a successful Barbarossa, but the Russian nation in some form will remain, its power concentrated east of the Urals. That nation, while much weaker than the USSR, would still be potent. Large numbers of refugees from western Russia will be flowing in. It will have access to Anglo-American aid via Iran and Siberia. Germany will have to detail substantial forces to guard the border. Maybe not so many tanks and planes can be moved west after all.

3) In 1941 British forces were concentrated in the Middle East, and in July of that year the British and Soviets invaded and subdued Iran to establish a supply line. The British are not going to just stand by and watch the Germans seize the Baku oilfields. As the Germans approach, the British forces in Iran would be sent forward into the Caucasus. Before reaching Baku the Germans would find themselves engaged with the British and remnants of the Soviet army. The Germans might have substantial numerical superiority, but they would also be operating in rugged, defence-friendly terrain at the end of an extremely long supply line.

In view of all this, how much of the Wehrmacht could actually have left Russia? Would the German victory in Barbarossa have felt like a "victory"?

50. 50
fgill says:

I think the bewildering array of alternate strategies presented in these comments makes clear what a chore Germany had on her hands. Invading and defeating Russia is no picnic. But then the Germans had done it barely 25 years before.

It seems to me that Stalin was in many respects the key to Soviet victory. He was a sort of blend of Vlad the Impaler and Abraham Lincoln, and though obviously lacking the latter's humanity he did share Lincoln's iron determination to hold the country together and win through to victory.

So I have to wonder what he would have done if the Germans had been on the verge of surrounding the city. Would he have perished in glory, resisting the fascists to the end? Or would he have fled at last, realizing (no difficult task for him) that he was indispensable to continued resistance. And if he had fled, would he have even been able to maintain control of his rump state? He hardly lacked for enemies.

I know many of today's historians sneer at the notion of the Great Man having a decisive influence on the course of events. Thankfully, people with an interest in military history are usually skeptical of this Tolstoylian notion. I would be interested in hearing what others think of Stalin's significance.

• 50.1
Tony says:

Fgill: You may be correct that only an exceptionally determined and ruthless leader could have held the USSR together in 1941, but it's worth noting that Stalin bears much of the responsibility for the USSR being in such a dire predicament in the first place. He had too much suspicion of the British and French and not enough of the Germans. He completely misread Hitler, and he stuck with his misguided view even when his diplomats and intelligence services tried to warn him. Consequently the USSR was caught surprised and unprepared for the German invasion. There is just no way that should have happened.

51. 51
Brian says:

The only peace with England that Hitler contemplated in 1940 was a capitulation, with Wehrmacht troops marching into Whitehall and Nazi stooges in the cabinet. There was no peace with honor available at that point. And that would have left him free to put virtually his full might against the Soviet Union. The almost certain conquest of the same would have left Hitler stronger than Stalin was in 1945, and dominating all of Europe, not just the east, and with no Allied forces to oppose him. Churchill did the right thing.

52. 52
JP says:

I think we should never lose sight of the fact that the Wehrmacht made the assumption that the Soviet Campaign could be completed in 1 and only 1 campaign season. In fact, that assumption was more like a wish, a desperate wish. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, in his memoirs, points that that there existed 2 divergent strategies for Barbarossa: Hitler wished to win the war on the \wings\ (via Leningrad and the Ukraine-Donets regions; while OKH favored a center thrust strategy. While Hitler voiced his objections, he still ceded operational control to Halder and OKH, because at that time he still possessed quite a bit of respect for the German General Staff. However, he also told them he intended to keep his \options open. The seeds of disaster were set.

OKH believed wrongly that STAVKA would need weeks if not months to mobilize the lions share of the Soviets vast array of human resources. Their execution for the initial stages went like clockwork from 22-28 June, AG Center completed its infamous double encirclement of Bilotsk-Minsk. For a few days it looked like the Wehrmacht completed its main goal of defeating the vast armies of the Soviet Union as close to the frontiers as possible. Little did Halder realize that Timonshenko was in the process of deploying another 5 field armies along the Dnieper Land Bridge. In other words, the heart of the OKH operational plan was already in tatters. David Glanz narrates in detail the horrific Battle of Smolensk (July through August 1941). What should have been a 1-2 week operation lasted 8 weeks. OKH planned on being in Moscow no later than August. Hitler's euphoria of early July turned to anxiety and then anger as he watched indecisive victories in and around Smolensk bleed the Wehrmacht white. As one German staff officer wrote, \We are winning ourselves to defeat!\.

What is ironic is the fact that a little known German staff officer by the name of Friedrich Paulus war gamed this possibility in the winter of 1940-41. He was chosen to assist in the initial planning, and Paulus predicted that the German advance were run out of steam by Smolensk (his prediction didn't take into account the ability of the Soviets to deploy a half a million men there. But, he did correctly calculate the expenditure of ammunition, spare parts, fuel, and other supplies).

Field Marshal von Manstein also wrote in his memiors that the thinking at both OKH/OKW was so parochial that no one could even envision fighting a campaign in the Soviet Union which took up 2 campaign seasons. At the early stages of planning, Hitler probably would have conceded a 2 year campaign if it was presented to him in a logical rational manner. But Halder played to Hitler's own vanity, and promised the Soviet Union would fall within 12-16 weeks. Hitler himself hoped against hope that Stalin would be overthrown once the Wehrmacht concluded on smashing victory.

Seen from this point of view, the Battle for Moscow was a fools game. Even if Bock entered Moscow in early November there was no way his men could have held it.

53. 53
mercbeast says:

The problem here is that we are leaving the realm of \historically plausible\ and entering the realm of sci-fi. Allow me to explain.

Had Germany waged war with the USSR with designs on limited goals, Stalin quite possibly would have said \take Poland and a little bit of the border regions!\. That however is fantasy. The conditions by which we arrive in 1941 ensure that this can never happen. Hitler invaded the USSR or ideological purposes. His goal from the outset was extermination and annihilation This was his end game from the very beginning. There is no version of WW2 in which a Nazi Germany led by Hitler invades the USSR and settles for a little bit of land. In short, a WW2 in which Germany invades the USSR for limited gains is not a Germany led by Hitler and by that logic we are most likely dealing with a far more rational individual. There probably is no war in that case.

When you come to terms with this very simple concept it is easy to see now that this was an un-winnable war for Germany. They literally lost the moment they invaded. Why? They had no real plan to win the war. Barbarossa and indeed the entire decision to invade the USSR is a case study in poor planning.

How repressive was the culture at OKW? We know many of Hitlers highest ranking military advisors told him the following \If we don't win quickly we will lose\.

Surely someone should have pipped in during operational planning and said \But what if we don't get Leningrad, Moscow or the Caucausus\ or better yet, \What if we achieve our objectives and they don't surrender?\.

The problem with the invasion of the USSR is that it displays a total lack of understanding regarding how to win a war. Inserting some Clauswitzian theory here we can talk about the \Center of Gravity\. The CoG has evolved over the century but the basic premise remains the same. To defeat your enemy you must defeat their CoG. Basically you have to defeat their ability to wage war.

In Western Europe the CoG of those nations that the Germans ran over was their standing armed forces. Geography becomes the primary constraint. Once the military was overwhelmed in Western Europe the entire country(France, Low Countries etc) could be quickly overrun eliminating the possibility for further organized military resistance.

In the USSR and Russia this is no longer true. The vast size of the country with the decentralized population and industry means that the entire country IS the CoG. How do you defeat a country where the size of the country is what you need to defeat? It is logistically and demographically impossible for Germany to have occupied enough of the USSR to actually bring it to heel.

54. 54
Ronald Lameck says:

Neil:
I am not the least offended by any of your comments. I hope you may say the same. It is the heat of strongly-held views. There is no fault in that. No point to have a view if you will not strongly defend it.
Germany was in no position to wage a prolonged war. Even if it had been, the Axis was out-numbered in people by 6 to 1, out produced in steel by 5 to 1, short numerous minerals & resources vital to modern weapons production, etc.
The historic surprise is that it took so long & such cost to defeat the Axis. The wise man would have tried to negotiate peace – certainly wiser than what we ended up with. But that was never tried. In retrospect, even the King of Hawks (Churchill) realised It is better to jaw, jaw than to war, war.
You take too seriously things Hitler penned in his Zweite Buch, or said in Table Talks. We all hypothesise about the future & try to plan for it. That is not our desire – only thoughts on how to deal with possible futures.
You mistake world domination for supreme control. Hitler envisioned a control in balance with the control exercised by the U.K – at least, before its Pyrrhic victory in WWI. He & many of his cohorts held to the Heartland Theory of Halford Mackinder.
You overlook the well-proved maxim that Nothing succeeds like success & nothing fails like failure – victory at A makes victory at B, C, etc. easier & more likely. Defeat at A makes defeat at B …
You seem to disregard the effect of victory (or defeat) on combatant morale – but watch a football game & gauge the effect on the crowd of a touchdown FOR or a touchdown AGAINST. To lose Leningrad, or Moscow or, especially, both, would have devastated the S.U., Stalin, Stavka, individual soldiers & the people. Imagine the Wehrmacht – almost dancing, just as it was after taking Paris. But see the effect of Stalingrad – on both sides. For the Axis, the Rumanians & Hungarians (both of whom had fought quite well in places) were near to useless thereafter.
You persist in claiming an alleged Soviet ability to mobilise & motivate. Vlasov, Solzhenitsyn, N. Tolstoy, even Khrushchev (& others) wrote at length disputing this as a myth.
You write of Allied advantages in resources, which I not only never disputed, but supported. However, you claim an advantage in innovation which I do not see. If you have supporting examples, now is the time to present them.
You keep raising the atomic bomb as if it was supreme. But, as I pointed out supra, it was not. Before Hiroshima, there was doubt – quite serious in some quarters – that it would work on a real target at all. Others wondered it if might crack the crust of the earth & cause wholesale destruction. Until the moment of detonation, no one knew for sure. That is why the U.K. – & France, & neutrals & others would not want it used in Europe at all. They would have to suffer the sling & arrows of its effect or, if it did not work, of the Axis retaliation.
You believe, without compelling evidence, that the U.S. was resourceful, so that would let it find a way to deliver the atomic bomb that no one in Europe would want used there in the first place. Yet I recall YOU accusing ME of magical thinking.
1. You AGAIN raise this discredited claim of S.U. mobilisation & motivation of its people. This is countered by the reports of sailors who made repeated Lend-Lease convoys to S.U. ports seeing aircraft & tanks delivered months earlier still in crates on the docks. Of the R.N. report that
the battleship H.M.S. Royal Sovereign (loaned to the S.U. in May 1944, then returned in 1949 and broken for scrap) gave every indication that its gun turrets had never been traversed in the 5 years. I could go on, but it is circular now.
2. Not knowing German progress on atomics was ONE reason for the U.S. opting to prioritise fighting Germany first. But also worry about its progress in chemical weapons. The standard strategic maxim of fighting the nearer enemy 1st. The S.S.M. of first fighting the one you had operationally surrounded first. The realisation that the U.K. was unable to hold its front indefinitely – in Dec. 1941, the British were being rather soundly spanked in N. Africa.
Re: Chemical weapons – you need to do some research. All the gas masks extent were utterly useless against Sarin, Soman & Tabun, all of which German had in large supply. No. It not being employed was due solely to Hitler refusing to subject others to the misery he endured in WWI.
4. Yes, the French Sept. 1939 offensive was lethargic at best. That is precisely my point – France was at best a reluctant participant in the folly of Chamberlain. It hoped a minor show of force might spark negotiations & at least fool the Poles into trying to fight a bit longer.
There was NOTHING the West could have done in 1939 that it did not do.
The Chamberlain guarantee was disingenuous at best, made to a government that was as self-serving & reprehensible as the Nazis. Note that Italy walked into Albania only ONE week after the guarantee, but the West did Sweet F All about it. The word you are thinking of right now is spelled H Y P O C R I S Y.
The majority of U.K. Cabinet agreed to appeasement of Germany, feeling that the Treaty of Versailles was grossly unfair. This was part of the cause of their acrimony to Opposition Leader David Lloyd George, who had been involved in its creation.
Stalin did NOT trust Hitler. He simply blew it. He did not believe the West would be defeated, & certainly not so quickly or completely. He purged his officer corps in 1937-38, but entertained notions of an offensive into Eastern Europe in 1942. He simply got caught with his pants down &, had Hitler made a plan & stuck to it, would have seen the S.U. vanish by about mid-late 1942.
In conclusion: You view is like saying the world would be better right now if the tree in my back yard blossomed $100 bills. Just as easy to say Chamberlain & Churchill were responsible for the deaths of millions by creating a general war that did not have to be. Re the Churchill statement – more balderdash from one of its primary dispensers. As Aristotle put it, democracy is the best of the least preferable forms of government. But it has rarely been tried. It has not existed in the U.K. or Commonwealth since before the Commonwealth existed. Not in the U.S. since ratification of its Twelfth Amendment (1804). All are just oligarchies masquerading as democracies. I find ZERO history that supports your view. Your turn! 55. 55 Robert Mason says: Well informed research Ronald. The bottom line is Germany invaded poland because of the mass murders on the german natives in the danzig corridor by independent bolsheviks lardtovich karpinski and weis orchastrated the massacres. 55'000 in total were savaged in the most brutal way. Women were raped and hacked to pieces young children nailed to barn doors. The western leaders looked on and still hitler offered poland unconditional surrender which was refused. At this time hitler took the west side of the pact and s.u the east. The problem is that all along the S.U wanted Germany, France and Britain to anilinate each other so they could walk all the way to paris with communism. So in theory hitler kept this evil ideology from western europe but not in the way he hoped. R.I.P A.H • 55.1 Ronald Lameck says: Robert: This is the first I have heard of Germans being killed in Poland prior to Sept. 1939. Any source you can cite would be much appreciated. The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was my final essay for Modern European History in university. I know many were killed as many more were forcibly expelled in 1945-49. I also am aware problems continue to exist over about 1 million ethnic Germans who live within the post-war Polish borders – especially since the demise of the Warsaw Pact. They get called White Ni—-s & some bloody riots have occurred. The German & Polish governments have had meetings about how to resolve the issue. 56. 56 psujoe says: You are all very knowledgeable and I love the info. IMO, Russia falls to Germany if the US is not in the war despite superior manpower. However, if the US lend lease to Russia was stopped I still believe sheer Russian man power wins the day. Germany's only hope was to go on a total war footing and claim it as a defense to British aggression to their declaration of war(for honoring their Poland treaty). They needed to build the weapons, munitions, logistical capabilities for the Eastern from during this time. Goering was a buffoon and cost serious expertise and equipment. A faint toward GB would've been more prudent. A need for long distance Bombers and logistic supply planes in this period would've been beneficial. Just too many details to go over, but imagine how many supplies could'e been positioned near the Eastern front if on a 3 shift war footing for 12 months? Flip side, surprise could be negated. Interesting scenarios. 57. 57 Ronald Lameck says: Mercbeast: I see no evidence of the science fiction you suggest is occurring in this forum. Your initial premise (first paragraph) seems to be entirely your construction. Nowhere in the record supra do I find anyone suggests the Nazi invasion of the S.U. was undertaken with limited goals. The intent quite clearly was to obliterate the S.U. by defeating it militarily & occupying its full European territory to the Ural Mts., leaving Siberia etc. to exist in any way that they would. The plan was to win the war by inflicting severe losses on the Red Army & seizing the Ukrainian agricultural area, the Dneipropetrovsk hydro-electric plant, & the main industrial & populations centres (Moscow & Lenigrad between them had about 60% of S.U. industrial capacity & were the most populous cities). The plan was sound enough. The strategy used to secure it is where the problems arose. There was not agreement on how to secure the goals. As a result, the first two goals were achieved, but the more important second two were not. It is quite likely that Hitler knew at least as well as any of his General Staff officers exactly what the economic & productive capacity of Germany was. He had access to all the data, which they did not. He seems to have regarded their misgivings as mere pessimism. Hitler based his method for all he did on emotion. He felt that people made their political & economic decisions based not on logic or what is the greatest good for the greatest number. Rather that they chose based on what was best for themselves & the ones they cared about. He felt that will power could prevail in most situations & that the morale of the combatants was vital. In his view, the ideas of Clausewitz were too intellectual & logical. There is some good evidence to support his view. In 1940, a.) Two reinforced Nazi divisions marched into Denmark & took the country in about 6 hours. No one can argue the Danish ability to wage war was defeated. What was defeated was its WILL to wage war. b.) Although the main Dutch cities were still held, resistance rapidly folded after the bombing of Rotterdam. Again, no one can argue the Dutch ability to wage war was seriously jeopardised. What was defeated was the Dutch WILL to wage war. c.) Belgium surrendered (at a moment very inconvenient to the Allied armies) although its army was still intact & held a much larger portion of the country than it did for almost all of WWI. Its forces were in contact with the other Allies. Once more, its ability to wage war was not defeated, but its WILL was. In WWI, Germany defeated the Russian Empire – in large part because of the political revolution that overthrew the Russian government. One more, its abilty to wage war was not defeated, but its WILL was. Hitler was not an original thinker. In virtually everything he did or tried to do he duplicated something someone else had done somewhere else. His ideas about the S.U. were shaped by the ancient Drang Nach Osten or Karl der Grosse & by the history of how the U.S. conquered most of its territory from N. American natives. This was heavily tempered by the Karl May stories he poured over in his youth. The S.U. was never anywhere near to the Union proclaimed in its name. Huge tracts of its land & vast numbers of its population were reluctant (often violently reluctant) members. The Nazis had no problem getting volunteers in the Baltic States, the Ukraine, or among Cossacks. The S.U. felt the need to perform internal ethnic cleansing of its 440,000 Volga Germans, fearing they would join the Nazis (despite the fact that at least 33,500 fought in the Red Army against the Nazis, 8 being awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.) The Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Chechnyens, etc. all had no love for the S.U. or for Stalin. I contend – had the Nazis chosen one course of action – either the flank strategy desired by Hitler or the central thrust favoured by O.K.W., the collapse of Soviet morale would have been sufficient for the people & members of the Red Army to say ENOUGH. It is not necessary to overcome the ability to wage war. All that is required is to damage moral to such a degree that the WILL to wage war is crushed. 58. 58 mike says: napoleon captured Moscow in 1812 but he could not hold it had to retreat hitler most likely would have to abandon it too the ussr would not have surrended in any event just like the us didn't after the british torched dc no you want to destroy armies not take cities 59. 59 John says: Dear Ronald Lameck: I agree with you in overall. I am traslating a post from Spanish to English. I think that it could be apreciate by you. The question of the WILL to figth is critical, and the fall of Moscow in 1941 could be the end of the SU and, as I will explain tomorow, the end of the war in 1944. 60. 60 John says: First want to congratulate everyone here write for demonstrating profound about WWII, I do not possess. For which I apologize, and once your professional opinion to my ideas on the subject. My specialty is armored forces. First of all, that the Germans took Moscow in 1941, the overriding goal of Barbarossa (along with the destruction of the Red Army and the occupation of the manufacturing centers) should have prepared better in the previous decade. That is, without being an economic and industrial power, plus military, the goal was unattainable. I believe that no possible combination of encirclement such maneuvers that goal is achieved by October 1941 (when the Raputzia begins the rainy season). Then, assume that Moscow falls, because preparations were made for the company. If you are going to succeed, it was through a Blitzkrieg type PANZER OPERATION. The war is lost when defeated France in July 1940, Hitler asked the dept. Weapons that duplicates the Panzer Divisions, taking them to 20 and do the same with div. Motorized, taking them to 10 When you manifest the cost of the plan and the need for skilled labor, Hitler gives up, and decided instead to halve the No. of tanks each, up to 150 per division. Worse, only 450 of 3,200 approximately in June 1941, were model Mark IV, but even with barrel 75 mm L-24, unable to pierce the armor of the T-34 which he would face soon began the campaign. It's a known von Mellenthin assertion that this gap had much to do with the failure of the campaign. However, the long barrel of anima, the L-43 pak 40 already existed and were slowly pursuing production orders …. Von Clausewitz would turn in his grave: Hitler had the winning cards, a tank whose production began in 1936 very slowly, and five years later it had not powered and not a thousand were available for facing life and death knew that Hitler himself was inevitable. 61. 61 John says: According to my knowledge, with 5,000 Mark IV, with 20% of L-43 long barrel in June 1941, the Panzer force would have broken categorical defeats even more than those achieved in reality. The Panzergruppe IV would have told four Panzer divisions instead of 3, and these in place with 750 panzers instead of 450, but also of much more firepower. Aditionally, the Germans could continue toi advance instead of wait the infantry forces or the Panzers replacement /broked be repared.That would have ensured the decision on Leningrad in August 1941, a month before freeing it for other missions; and taking a brutal blow to the Soviet defense. His move south for the offensive Typhoon, the conquest of Moscow, would have three Panzergruppen (II, III and IV) gathering more than 3,000 modern tanks on hard ground in September, 1000 instead of weak and outdated that used in October, just 15 days before the rainy season. This would have meant that Moscow was surrounded and possibly occupied at the beginning of this month, our most likely scenario. Stalin would have left Moscow at the certainty of his fall, and is likely to head for Kazan with the ambassadors of the allied powers. The riots of October in Moscow, which existed, would have been unstoppable, and the people would have risen up against everything the Communists. Consider that the German army would appear as invincible and far superior to Russian frank demoralization, if not a little counter-revolution would begin just after Stalin leaving Moscow. Successive advances would ensure a comfortable winter quarters, rest and recovery. Conquest of Baku oil to the following spring, though burned their wells, add unsolvable problems to the Soviets. Furthermore, with a level of production so high in tanks, for December of 1941 the fall of Egypt would be a fact, and in June 1942 three or four Panzer divisions plenty of mark IV, thges best tank againste the britisg matilda or Criusader (75 mm long against 45 mm short!) the entire Middle East would be fallen. For when America entered the war and bring its industry to produce, would be later. In mid-1942 the war was over. With 200 well-armed divisions, USSR, UK and USA eliminated even rearming is unthinkable to happen on the D day. Operation Torch possibly happen but the allies would b etraped in Algerie, as USA would become mired in Vietnam, a war of tables. With such a surplus of heavy weapons, Germany would happen to Romania, Hungary and Italy part of their production, changing for food, oil, etc., and turning them over to reliable military allies without suffering these setbacks of 1942. Stalingrad an El Alamein never happen…Ultimately his soldiers were so brave (given weapons) as the British and Russians. Germany would have around 1942, 43 and 44 to exploit the conquered territories, while depriving the oil of Baku allies and the Middle East. With jet aircraft Heinkel 163 (first flight in 1941) and Messerschmitt 262 (firts fligth in 1942), the German industry would be protected from air strikes. Not so UK for 1944 would rain bombs, conventional and type V-1 and V-2 about LONDON. It is likely that in December of this year, England, fearing that Germany came before the atomic bomb and suffering that hell, asked America that together demanded peace and armistice conditions. • 61.1 Ronald Lameck says: John: The great problem with your scenario is historic fact. Hitler did not have four aces in his hand, & never did. He had what he had. What you need to do is what I have done supra – show how a successful result could have been secured without changing one iota of the force employed for the operation, but simply by adjusting the strategy. It would have been possible, but did not happen – to the great detriment of millions who died unnecessarily & millions more who lived a diminished existence in the Soviet bloc., 62. 62 Ronald Lameck says: Mike: Your comment re: Napoleon in 1812 borders on reductionism. Napoleon was puzzled by the Russian tactic of scorched-earth retreat – including the cities of Smolensk & Moscow. This denied him the opportunity to defeat the Russian army in detail in a single pitched battle, which was the usual way of fighting a war in that era. Armies did not have supply lines for food: they relied on what they could find in the fields. They did not fight on a continuous front. The Grand Armee was depleted by chasing the Russian army across the huge countryside when it should have just marched on St. Petersburg & killed or captured Tsar Alexander I or forced him to sue for peace. The August 1814 burning of Washington was reprisal for the U.S. burning of York (now Toronto) in April 1813. There were already U.S. & U.K. delegations meeting at Ghent, Belgium when that act occurred. The parties reached an accord on 24 Dec. To win a war, you act to sap the will of the opponent to continue to fight. The defeat is inside the head, not on the map or in the size of the cemeteries created. 63. 63 Ronald Lameck says: John: In your submission, you overlook that the timing of Barbarossa was altered by events. a.) Hitler did not expect a general war to result from the attack on Poland. The national economy was not turned in that direction at all. This is why there was heavy reliance on captured ordnance throughout the war. b.) He did not expect the U.K. to continue to fight after Poland (the cause for war) & Western Europe were overrun & the B.E.F. had to flee the continent. He did not want to fight the U.K. in the first place & knew he lacked the means to invade it. He believed that by neutralising the S.U. in a quick campaign, he could finally draw the U.K. to peace talks. b.) Intelligence from the S.U. suggested that Stalin meant to attack the Axis in summer 1942. To that extent, Barbarossa was pre-emptive. c.) The Yugoslav coup disrupted his political solution to secure the flank of the attack from possible U.K. interruption. Substantial forces had to be detached to eradicate this problem. This delayed Barbarossa by almost 6 weeks, used up some resources that had been set aside for it, & put a lot of wear & tear on men & materiel that were to be part of it. d.) Once the attack was underway, it seemed success was just over the next river or beyond the next town. This, coupled with the NEED to get it over with quickly, meant that the rational idea to stop the advance & settle into a winter line did not occur. So the army was in offensive mode when the weather collapsed & the S.U. could turn to counter-attack. This caused a lot of losses in men & materiel that would otherwise have been prevented. e). The mechanised forces were diluted because, although production could not be increased, most of the tanks were re-armed with larger guns. It was hoped that quality would make up for quantity. Overall, Hitler did NOT have the materiel to win. He hoped that by acting quickly & using a bit of bluff, tactics which had served him well in the past, he could disrupt the S.U. in a quick campaign, settle with the U.K., then turn again to deal with the S.U. in proper fashion. 64. 64 barry says: The capture of Moscow would have achieved nothing just like Napoleon's capture of Moscow years earlier. A country of the size of Germany, in 1941, did not have the resources to have capture all of USSR. The German's transportation resources were still mostly by foot and horse, as it was in Napoleon's day. Also, the population of USSR meant they could, and did bleed the German's white. Add the declaration of war against the United States, the failure of the Japanese to attack the USSR in the east, and the result is Germany could never win this war. • 64.1 Ronald Lameck says: Barry: it was NEVER the German plan to capture all the S.U. Only to defeat the government & occupy so far as the Ural Mts.. Had you read any of the above, you would know that. The S.U. population was a widely disparate group of differing languages, religions, & cultures. Many were mutually hostile to others. They would have split in their myriad directions upon collapse of the central oppressor, just as they did historically post 1991. Had you read any of the above, you would have know that as well. The pre-occupation by Japan in other spheres was well-known to the Nazi government in Dec. 1941. Its participation was never considered vital – only useful if it came. The U.S. declaration (went both ways) would have meant little, if anything had the S.U. government fallen, as Hitler would have his Heartland (as per Mackinder theory) &, frankly, would care little about the west. In that event, both he & even Churchill would be open to just ending it all. 65. 65 Ronald Lameck says: Strictly within the confines of the issue addressed by Dan, I agree with MOST of what he says. There is one important difference: Stalingrad had been subjected to 36 hours of virtually non-stop bombing (at least 1000 tons dropped) in August 1942 just prior to entry by Armee Sechs. It was also bombed block-by-block for five days thereafter. Moscow, a much older & larger city with much greater population density, was not subjected to anything like this sort of bombardment. The city would not be so devastated. Armour could easily negotiate its streets. The city centre would have been easily attacked & not nearly so well defended. It would probably have easily been taken. But the scenario he answers was not the historic one – it is skewed by an invented weather situation, & so is unrealistic. 66. 66 knightdepaix says: In the lights of using how peoples (Russian ones, German generals, German and Soviet military and political leadership) as arguments, how about the geography from Germany to the S.U. which looks like a funnel opening to the east ? So whichever eastward directions the German leadership picked, they would have facing the ever broadening front from the Baltic and Arctic to the Black Sea. Concentrating on a trophy city anchored on the north or south end of this front would fit well with the German fighting style of relative quickness in lightning war, not to mention the German allies on the shores of those Seas (Finland, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Caucasian uprising). So Leningrad is a good first choice with reasons presented above — destruction of the Soviet Communist WILL to carry on the war; Crimea and Ukraine is a good second choice. Then matching onto the Kuban Steppe with an amphibious assault onto the southern shore of the Great Caucasus (today Georgia). Then march through the valley between the two Caucasian mountain ranges to Baku. Turkey can also be persuaded to join; she had been selling mineral ores through Romania anyway. Regarding choices of German general, Guderian and Model, repersentatives of blitzrieg armored warfare and combined arms defense are choices to join the drive to Leningrad. Army Group Center would advance to near Smolensk and then be deployed strategically defensively to prevent a Soviet breakthrough; thus Von Manstein would be choices for Army Group Center or South for manoeuvre warfare that would always attempt to impose German military initiatives on the Soviet armies, as in his success of the third battle of Kharkov. Once Leningrad and the Baltic east coast would be secured, Model would be responsible for its defense and Finnish collaboration in driving the Soviet out of Murmansk, Karelia and the Komi peninsula. Afterwards, once the Black Sea coast would be secured, the German army can drive for Baku. At last, with the north and south end of the long front secured, the German military can advance from the north and/or south as pincers towards Moscow in the center. Besides this flank strategy was favored by the ultimate German political leadership and anchored on economical and logistical advantage of maritime over land transport, the north-south axis of attack would void the Soviet geopolitical advantages of defending an \opening end of the funnel\ while advancing on a ever narrowing front on the European plain given her enormous humanpower and resources east of the Urals mountains. If some kind of diplomatic peace talks would happen, Soviet geopolitical anchoring on the Baltic and Black Seas would be Germans even in cases of partial conquering of the North European plain. If Archangelsk and Astrakhan were to be captured, the advantage of this axis remains. The point of Japanese \co-operation\ to Operation Barbarossa was strategically irrelevant because of the long distance between Moscow and the Russian far east region, not to mention of Soviet military presence in the area. The offensive effectiveness of Siberian divisions would not be as great for German anchoring to logistical advantage through the Baltic and the Black Sea. 67. 67 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: Your consideration of the offensive problem closely mirrors my own. The only flaw I perceive in what you have written is in the idea of an amphibious attack from the Black Sea on the Caucasus. The S.U. had a huge naval superiority in the Black Sea – an obsolete battleship, 5 cruisers, 18 destroyers, 18 minelayers, 2 gunboats, 84 torpedo boats & 44 submarines faced the 4 destroyers, 2 minelayers, 17 torpedo boats & 9 submarines of the combined Axis. (Some other minor ships are herein omitted.) Although the S.U. Caucasus ports had very limited repair capabilities, I doubt an amphibious attack could be successful against such resistance, even if the Axis were to secure absolute air supremacy which, of course, it could not do. THIS is one of a few places where it would have been useful for the Wehrmacht to continue its Fallschirmjager arm. But it is all just an intellectual exercise now. 68. 68 knightdepaix says: Thank Ron for devoting his attention to comments; I do have a suggestion that is close to being a question. Regardless of which tactical direction the Soviet and German would take offensively or defensively, I would recommend to look at the whole Barbarossa campaign on strategic perspectives. On the prospect of \conquering land and its peoples\, non-Russian peoples inhabited Estonia, Finland and her neighboring lands of Karelia and Komi penisula, which cover the coastal lands between Baltic and Barents Seas (practically the Arctic Ocean) and were separated by the waterways from the so-called White Sea-Baltic Canal, Lake Onega, Svir River, Lake Ladoga to River Neva and the coastal Leningrad. This narrower drainage between the Seas could have been an easier German and Finnish co-operative defense line, anchoring at Leningrad on the west end and Bel0morsk on the east end. Swampy and woody areas of these lakes and rivers would give the Finns a great defense advantage as they had proven themselves during the Winter War against the Soviets. In other words, capture of Leningrad could culminate a Soviet cession that crippled Soviet geopolitical anchoring between the Baltic and White Sea, at least shortened the front on that Finnish military would need to defend. The Soviet Union has held the Komi peninsula. However, would Germany and the S.U. would settle for at least a cease-fire giving Finland all the lands northwest of the aforementioned waterway border ? 69. 69 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: I cannot envision that Hitler would care much about Karelia. Armee Lapland (Gerbirgsarmee 20) was employed mostly to recover Axis use of the nickel mines around Petsamo. As part of the peace treaty ending the Winter War, the Finns had to cede to the S.U. a transit through the area to Norway. It would have been wise to press Unternehmen Silberfuchs & seize Murmansk, but the area was a very difficult one to fight in & to reach with reinforcements. Had a more determined effort been made to seize Leningrad, of course a large number of Finnish troops could have been moved north to finish the job at Murmansk. But the problem was the Finn reluctance to conduct offensive action against the S.U. They seemed satisfied to recover the land lost after the Winter War, & no more. They could have attacked toward Leningrad from the Viipuri area, or allowed German troops to do so, & the city would have fallen. But they did not, so this never happened. Then after the U.K. declared against Finland on 6 Dec, the Finns were content to maintain a defensive posture. Overall, although they were good fighters, they were not very useful as allies to Germany. 70. 70 knightdepaix says: I can understand the Finns are not very useful as German allies despite maintaining defensive posture throughout the WWII. One argument favoring the Finns is that by going offense against the S.U. onto Soviet lands, Finland would give the S.U. reasons to invade the Finland. The German military leadership and the one ultimate German political leader had cared less: a book detailing German operations in the Arctic mentioned the man thought attacking from Petsamo towards Murmansk would be a cakewalk while Eduard Dietl, the German commander, emphasized the difficult geography. No roads existed, covered with feet of snows during winter but swamps during summer, a haven for mosquitoes. On the other hand, the Soviet could benefit from the \Kirov Railway\ or the \Murman Railway\ linking Murmansk and Leningrad, which runs from the ice-free port along the White Sea coast, turns west to reach Leningrad. If Germany would be vigilant of the Soviet geopolitical anchoring on the Baltic, White and Black Seas, the army would occupy Karelia and Komi peninsula including Murmansk. The S.U. obviously had realized the lands are not much use except for providing a long corridor from which military presence against Finland can be mounted. As a note, those lands are still not developed much to this day: take a look of today's Murmansk's population (from Wikipedia): Although Murmansk's population is in decline—299,148 (2014 est.);[5] 307,257 (2010 Census);[4] 336,137 (2002 Census);[10] 468,039 (1989 Census)—[11]it remains the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. [12] If Finland could administer those lands including the city, would the city be better today ? Also as a note, both Finns, Estonians, Karelians, Hungarians, and some minorities living in Russia belong to the same language classification Finno-Ugric peoples. As an intellectual exercise, why did German and the other allies, say the Hungarians, not remove that threat to Finland by settling the cession of all lands northwest of the lakes and rivers around Ladoga, Onega on a cease-fire ? If Lebensraum could fit German ideology, Greater Finland would fit Finland ideology. Once the lands would had been ceded to Finland, the Russian Finno-Ugric population would be immigrated onto them ? It seems even Mannerheim detested German ideology of that time. It seems Germany and its allies concentrated on achieving own objectives than removing their common enemy Soviet presence east of their nations. On similar rationale, Romania could have retained nowadays Odessa Oblast. The European lands of S.U. was so large, shall they be taken bit-by-bit ? 71. 71 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: From the German perspective, the Kola Peninsula & Karelia had no relevance. The interest was solely to have the nickel mines around Petsamo. Taking Murmansk was just gravy. It seems to not have been considered until after the fact that Murmansk & Archangelsk could be used to secure supplies from the U.K. It could be argued that most of the troops used in Silberfuchs may have been better employed elsewhere. It may be that they might have been just sufficient to tip the scale & allow Leningrad to be seized. If it fell, the northern flank was of little strategic relevance, save to protect the vital Finnish nickel & Swedish iron ore supplies. Certainly, the loss of Leningrad to the S.U. would have been far more devastating. The German command seemed to let lesser officers press their own agendas – Silberfuchs & the earlier Unternehmen Merkur (Crete) – local projects that aided their own reputations & egos, but which were often detrimental to the grand strategy. 72. 72 knightdepaix says: Finnish leadership (Mannerheim often got quoted as the head of them) had constantly been rejecting the German proposal of helping capture Leningrad, using lack of manpower and firepower as reasons. Actually Finnish military and political leadership had tried to avoid annoying the S.U. and the Western allies. Finland refraining from cutting the Murman railway despite attacking in the direction towards it helped sway Amercian sympathy. British did declare of war on Finland; if Finnish military leadership had had a larger role, the British and American would not have easily let Finland get away of that balancing act between the two warring enemies camps. Given the above, if capturing Leningrad had indeed been the primary objective of Barbarossa, the German leadership would need to prepare to take for THEMSELVES the Karelian coast of White Sea, the Kola Peninsula along with Murmansk and the Murman railway. This gain of strategically logistics would have gone counter to the intuition of the ultimate German one-man leadership if Barbarossa had dragged on as it was in history. Was this military endeavor achievable ? In history, the Finnish advanced close to Leningrad and the White Sea coast. By maintaining a strategic defense but tactical maneuver warfare in the central east of Smolensk (probably under the likes of Von Runstedt or Von Manstein's leadership), ramped-up Army Group North could then capture Leningrad, attacked along the Murman railway heading northeast and north, swept Soviet resistance into the White Sea (note that Finns would be attacking from the West), and headed for Murmansk. Once Murmansk had been captured, German navy and military from Norway could be stationed. Fresh units from Norway could then head back south to capture Leningrad if the city still had not fallen. After all those conquest, Army Group North had achieved its goal. The likes of Walter Model leadership would then be responsible for the defense of the conquered land. Depending on the situation of Army Group South along the Black Sea coast and Caucasus, could pincers advancing to Moscow be mounted ? Please note that so far the German conquests were of non-Russian peoples (Polish, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Karelians, Komis, peoples living in the Caucasus), successful German political management of these peoples and lands would be critical to holding onto the gains, but in my opinion, German military were at the time better then her politics: getting the Soviet leadership again to the cease-fire and peace-talk table would be very hard. 73. 73 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: The political stance of Finland in what it calls its Continuation War baffles. When invaded in Nov. 1939, Germany quickly offered aid, including its 1st-echelon weapons of the time (Bf-109E aircraft, Pzkw. IV armour), whereas France offered nothing – not even best wishes – and the U.K. offered a few 2nd- or 3rd-rate aircraft. Germany was always a far better ally to the Finns than the West ever was. If you cannot avoid a fight (war), then do all you can to win it with the least possible harm to yourself. That means not having to fight again in the near future – seek a permanent solution. Before the Winter War, the S.U. offered Finland more than 2X the territory in the north to compensate for ceding land in the Karelian Isthmus. It sought that land as a buffer zone for Leningrad. The Finn government refused the offer & the Red Army marched soon after. To go back at the S.U. this time in an aggressive war simply to recover what it took in the 1940 treaty would mean that the 26,000 Finns who died in that war did so in vain. Had the Finn government allowed die Wehrmacht the same free transit in south Finland that it allowed in the north, then the Finn argument of not having the strength or resources to strike at Leningrad would have been solved. With a German armoured corps to spear-head, Finns troops could have been marching down Nevsky Prospekt within a couple of weeks. The interesting thing about St. Petersburg – Petrograd – Leningrad is that it is hard to attack on a broad front. However, such attack is FAR easier from the west or south. Die Wehrmacht, forced by Finn political posturing to attack only from the south, was barred (barely) from capturing the city. A two-prong thrust would have succeeded. Meanwhile, an S.U. counter attack could only come from the east, and would be frustrated by Lake Ladoga. Capture of the city would have vastly improved Finn security, and Finn troops could be moved north to ensure capture of Murmansk. Serious action in the north would have been very difficult – the weather, lack of roads and rough terrain being limiting factors. Beyond protection of the Petsamo nickel mines and access to the Swedish iron ore, there was no strategic interest for Germany in the north. The need to protect Narvik would limit the number of ships die Kriegsmarine could base at Murmansk, but certainly many U-boats could operate from there to nullify S.U. & Allied use of Archangelsk for Lend-Lease. If the S.U. had been defeated, the Allies would have accepted whatever Finland had done to aid in bringing that end. After all – they had no great love for Soviet Communism either. The MAIN reason for the antipathy to Germany was that the U.K. & France did not want to see it as the economic hegemon of Europe. But now, 70 years on, millions of lives lost & property destroyed and cultural treasures lost, that is precisely what it is. Yes, the wrong side won in 1945. 74. 74 Yeti says: Lots of interesting arguments about how things would have been different had the Wehrmacht taken Leningrad or Moscow. We can't learn much from things that did not happen, but how about we look at things that did actually happen. - Napoleon actually occupied Moscow in 1812, the defenders just moved out and left him with an empty ruin of a ghost town. We know how it turned out for him. Hint: no, no decisive victory. - Stalingrad never fell, in spite of Hitler going all in on that one.Hint: a very reasonable and conservative guess is that Leningrad and Moscow would also have been defended fanatically to the last man and to the last bullet. Leningrad did indeed lose half of its population and was still going strong after 900 days. So, although I agree with some of the potential consequences of either of those cities falling into German hands, no one in the whole thread has yet proven that that was even a possibility. The Germans tried two different approaches against these key strongholds: siege and starvation (didn't work), leveling and hand-to-hand combat (didn't work). Urban warfare is a very different game and in that respect I think the Soviets would have held on town after town all the way back to Novosibirsk if necessary, until the Germans were exhausted and demoralized. Neil above makes the very germane point (no pun intended) that the human resources of the USSR were, for practical means, infinite. Even if put in a straight line I seriously doubt the Wehrmacht even had enough bullets to kill every single one of the Soviet defenders. No one has countered this point, and it just happens to be the single most relevant one in all the argument. 75. 75 Ronald Lameck says: Yeti: To end reductionism. Napoleon saw a largely abandoned Moscow burned around his forces which were at the end of a long supply line. He then wasted five weeks expecting Tsar Alexander to surrender. As this did not happen, he headed south hoping to surround the Russian army, but was met by part of its force, which negated his effort. So he began the ill-fated retreat. In 1942, the plan never was to capture Stalingrad. Nevertheless, it WAS falling. The Wehrmacht had Sixty-Second Red Army on the ropes when Operation Uranus was launched. The Rumanian & Hungarian forces it attacked largely melted away – something which could not reasonably have been expected. That allowed the city to be surrounded. Hitler never made a large effort there – the emphasis was on reaching the oil fields near Baku. But he split the force, wanting both goals to be achieved simultaneously. The supply situation could not support this There is no ground to contend Moscow & Leningrad could have been defended in the same way, as the circumstances were different. At Stalingrad, the S.U. had a very short supply line – the breadth of the Volga – while the Wehrmacht was at the end of a long line. That problem did not exist at the other cities. The Red Army, showed ample examples of panic & collapse at other cities – e.g. – Minsk. In 1942, the German strategy was haphazard – attacking on both flanks when one or the other would have made the day. No \siege or starvation\ (really the same thing) was attempted at Moscow. An attack was made, but done so in winter weather. No subsequent attack was ever attempted. At Leningrad, the Finns bizarre action unnecessarily complicated the situation. They were happy to be in their one-time positions, but did nothing that would have ensured their being able to keep those positions permanently. They did nothing to help take Leningrad & would not allow German transit to do so. A more realistic strategy on their part would have ensured the fall of the city. At this point, I invite you to inform us when the supposed hand-to-hand combat occurred at that city. Like Neil, you make the error of assuming that just because a lot of people were available to the S.U. that all of these would have fought on its behalf. Flying in the face of all evidence to call that remote possibility the \single most relevant (point) in this debate is the \magical thinking.\ 76. 76 Neil says: Ronald, Would you be so kind as to answer a few questions for me? First, do you dispute the view that Hitler intended to wage a war of annihilation against the Soviet Union (e.g. men, women and children should be killed or enslaved)? If yes, why? Second, do you dispute the view that the Soviet Union could replace killed or captured soldiers at a much faster rate than the Germans? If yes, why? (The SU's army grew in numbers in 1942/1943 despite having lost roughly 3 million soldiers in the German's great encirclements.) Third, do you dispute the view that the majority of the German's Soviet prisoners of war were staved to death? If yes, why? I am no fan of Stalin or the Soviet's control of Eastern Europe in the decades following WWII. However, I am convinced that the fate of those living in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union would have been much worse if Hitler and the Nazis had won WWII. Fourth, do you deny that the Nazi's intentionally killed millions of people (e.g. in concentration and extermination camps) and had plans to continue the killing after the war had been won? If yes, why? I look forward to your reply. 77. 77 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: I am busy like a one-legged man in a posterior-kicking contest right now, so will answer you in driblets – one Q. at a time. 1. Of course not. Hitler proclaimed often, long & loud to all & sundry that he regarded the S.U. & its ideals as a blight upon mankind that had to be obliterated. He had contempt & low regard for all the eastern people. In part, this was formed when he was a camp guard at Traunstein in winter 1918-19. With WWI over, the camp was dispersing prisoners-of-war from the Russian Empire. He noted that many had no wish to return home, only to be impressed into the raging Russian civil war. He thought them to be parasites, cowards & traitors for wanting to remain in Germany, which was hard-pressed to feed its own people. He cared not that many of these men had no love for the oppressive imperial autocracy for which they had fought, & no trust in the claims of Lenin et al. His intent was to treat the eastern people as the U.K. & U.S. had treated the non-whites in their spheres of influence for centuries – like sub-humans fit only to exploit. He was not an original thinker: all he did or tried to do had been done before elsewhere – mostly by those who now expressed such horror at his ideas. He delighted in revealing the hypocrisy of his critics. 78. 78 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: 2. Having a much larger population base to draw from, of course the S.U. could probably replace losses to a greater degree than the Wehrmacht. Almost all of its soldiers were conscripted – often at the point of a gun &/or with threats to their relatives, whereas a large number of Wehrmacht troops were \Freiwilligen [free will - volunteers]\ - especially in the Waffen-S.S. The Red Army grew despite its colossal 1941 losses because it takes a long time to mobilise a large number of troops drawn across a vast area. However, what matters is not the number that can be gathered, but the quality of those gathered. Many, if not most S.U. troops were very reluctant participants. Many were poorly educated. They often got sparse or very poor training. In particular, this was seen among Red Army armoured troops. Many could barely operate their machines. These are the sorts who make poor soldiers. A single well-educated volunteer who is well-trained can out-perform a large number of such soldiers, especially if he has superior communications. German armoured troops communicated by radio. In the Red Army, almost all for the entire war had to rely on the squad commander directing by means of coloured flags stuck up above an opened turret hatch. By 1945, the Red Army had at least 800,000 women in uniform, more than 500,000 in combat roles. It had large numbers of boys of 12-13 years & men over 50 – often, over 60. This was why a much smaller force of Germans, even half-trained, could eviscerate much larger S.U forces right up to the very last days of the war. (E.g. Battle of Bautzen) The greatest thing to aid the Red Army besides the immense amount of goods it received through Lend-Lease was the Allied action in the West, which drew off large numbers of German troops – especially the high-quality units. Left to fight strictly toe-to-toe, the Red Army was decidedly inferior. A look at the comparative numbers engaged & lost leaves no doubt about this. 79. 79 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: 3. Who disputes obvious facts? The intent of \Barbarossa\ was to obliterate the S.U. There is no gentle obliteration. While Germany did, the S.U. chose to not sign the 1929 Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners. By the Convention terms, Germany was supposed to treat prisoners of non-signatories as if their nation HAD signed, but in operational fact history shows this is seldom adhered to. (e.g.: the disingenuous acts of the U.S. in Afghanistan with its Guantanamo Gulag, Abu Ghraib, etc.) The lot of a prisoner on either side on the \East Front\ was not to be envied. Starting on 22 June 1941, Red Army troops shot German prisoners – especially the wounded. The Red Army had earlier demonstrated this great brutality to Finn prisoners in the 1939-40 Winter War. In fact, it was this treatment of Finns that was in part inspiration for Hitler's \Commissar Order\ (6 June 1941 – that any captured Soviet commissars were to be summarily executed). In \Lost Victories\, Manstein wrote of capturing so many Red Army prisoners that he had to have them fed grass, as there was nothing else to give them. He had many shot as he thought it more humane than starving without housing as the weather turned cold. \War is Hell\ – Gen. William T. Sherman (1879). 80. 80 Eoin says: \It's unlikely that an organization like the gestapo would have lasted long. The hate would have faded away or people would have rose up against it.\ Hi. If you are referring that the German people would have rose up against any organisation that was part of the Nazi regime or that the hate would fade away, then that is just bull. The use of Propaganda (which was effectively used through radio, cinema,etc) had already brainwashed the German populace. This is if only Hitler was victorious. However, who would take Hitler place? My first thought is Goebbels, but he seems a bit inadequate since Hitler awarded him the rank chancellor. He killed himself.(unreliable). Russia was the country of the hour. CHARLIE BOY's passage that the U.S. did everything was bull. Russia in fairness had the main battle in its hands and did push the germans back into their hole. Ireland No.1 81. 81 Eoin says: ^^ im referring to 17.2 Duda 82. 82 Eoin says: 17.2 Ruda^^^^^^^^^^^ 83. 83 knightdepaix says: Regarding feasibility of taking Leningrad and the will to carrying the war, indications suggests that Stalin and his staff had considered peace-talk with Germany through an intermediary during the darkest moment of invaded S.U. in October 1941. Accordingly, both Germany and Finland seemed to disregarded such possibility. However, if both nations did consider that peace talk. During the process of peace talk, both armies, with the obvious refraining advancing towards Moscow from Smolensk neighborhood, could still attack on the flanks, that included a ramped up Army Group North driving to Leningrad. Such flanking advancement fitted the ideas from the one ultimate German political leader. So in essence, Lameck's suggestion for capturing Leningrad first as the peach talk carried on could be feasible. If a kind of Brest-Litovsk agreement could be reached giving 1) Finland – all lands northwest of the waterways from the White Sea-Baltic Canal, Lake Onega, River Svir, Lake Ladoga to River Neva and Leningrad. 2) Romania – today Romania, Odessa Oblast, Moldova, Transnistria Governorate? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria_Governorate#mediaviewer/File:Rom1942.png 3) Germany – Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Crimea 84. 84 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: Of course they killed millions. So did the S.U. So did Communist China. Japan killed many – I have no idea of the number. The S.U. did it before, during & after WWII. China mostly after. There is no evidence that the Nazis had any such plan upon the end of the war. Without the war & the blockade, they would have no need to. The supply of food & resources would be ended, relieving the pressure of the mass starvation that befell Germany in the last half of WWI & the period until the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The memory of that agony was in the minds of many in Germany – not just the Nazis. It was a major reason why so many Germans continued to fight on in 1945 despite the obvious hopelessness of their situation – sort of a \better to die standing than live on your knees\ mindset. Without war, the Nazis could let people go, or force them to. In so doing, they would certainly not be the the first, & surely not the last. In conclusion, I am surprised that you think East Europe would be worse off had the Nazis won. I have spoken to more than a dozen people who lived under both the Nazi & Soviet regimes. They lived in the S.U., Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Hungary & Germany. They were unanimous in emphatically declaring they felt much freer & had a far better quality of life in the Nazi years, even during the war. Of course, all a moot point now, as both regimes are gone & soon everyone who had direct experience of either one will be gone too. 85. 85 Ronald Lameck says: Eoin: I agree with you – once any power is secured by an authoritarian government, it doesn't like to cede any of it. Rather, it jealously guards every morsel, going to extraordinary lengths to do so. In 1917, less than 10 weeks after seizing power in the Russian revolution, the Soviets created their secret police. It continued under many names (Cheka, G.P.U., O.G.P.U., N.K.V.D., N.K.G.B., G.U.G.B., M.G.B. & finally, K.G.B.) right to the very end of the S.U. The Stasi of the Deutsche Demokratik Republik was formed in Feb. 1950 & lasted to the end of the regime. Has Germany won or at least made a settlement ending the war that left its regime in place, it is doubtful that Hitler would have been replaced by any sort of \palace revolution.\ His intent was that he would retire to the Linz, Austria area to while away his days in art. By his decrees, Goering was to take up his place. Notice that he bypassed Goebbels in favour of Doenitz as leader in his last will & testament. I doubt either Goebbels or Himmler had the support of enough of the underlings to take power or to stay long in it were they to somehow obtain it. The S.U. did most of the actual fighting & most of the dying in defeating the Nazis, but it would not have been able to survive, let alone prevail, without the strong support of food & materiels from the West & the bombing campaign that so disrupted German industry. A Wehrmacht with adequate fuel & 2X or 3X more Tiger & Panther tanks would have tore the Red Army to pieces. 86. 86 knightdepaix says: Lameck: \Capture of the city would have vastly improved Finn security, and Finn troops could be moved north to ensure capture of Murmansk. Serious action in the north would have been very difficult – the weather, lack of roads and rough terrain being limiting factors. Beyond protection of the Petsamo nickel mines and access to the Swedish iron ore, there was no strategic interest for Germany in the north. The need to protect Narvik would limit the number of ships die Kriegsmarine could base at Murmansk, but certainly many U-boats could operate from there to nullify S.U. & Allied use of Archangelsk for Lend-Lease.\ To Finland and Karelians and other Finno-Urgic peoples living in Siberia, near Arctic and the S.U., Finland getting all lands northwest of the waterways from the White Sea-Baltic Canal, Lake Onega, River Svir, Lake Ladoga to River Neva and Leningrad such that the waterways would have served as the Finland-S.U. border would greatly help improve the strategic prospect of defense for these peoples, which in turn would help detour other non-Russian peoples from the S.U. if the Finnish government managed well diplomatically with Britain and the U.S.. So in the long run of preserving the existence of Finno-Urgic culture, having such an enlarged Finland would be good. Significant inhabitants in Karelia during the Continuation War viewed Finnish army as invaders and not welcoming the army but it received from German armies few thousands Estonian, Karelians soldiers and officers from Soviet POWs. So looking from a long run of perspectives, capturing a trophy city (as a ideological, political, communication, logistical or economic target) would make sense if providing strategic safety for the nations whose armies heading east. • 86.1 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: From strategic, tactical, political & morale perspectives, to capture Leningrad would have far more than a mere "trophy". It might well have been the proverbial straw for the S.U. The affect on the morale of the people, even in the military & most of the political administration would have been severe. It was the city of Peter the Great, ideological centre of Soviet communism, named for the "father" of the movement, nearest link to the West, sole purely Russian seaport in the Baltic, second-largest city in population & second-largest industrial centre, & a centre of Slavic culture. Seizing it would make the Baltic an Axis lake (the S.U. submarines that sank Wilhelm Gustloff & Goya in 1945 would not exist.) It would be a vital rest, hospital, supply & communications centre that would be partisan-proof during the warm-weather months. The effect on the morale of the West also cannot be ignored. It would cause Western leaders to think that the S.U. just might be done for, & it could be a good idea to open negotiations on a way to end the war – especially as the Japanese kettle was already bubbling on the other burner. 87. 87 knightdepaix says: In other words, using the Finland Continuation Wartime demographic reaction to the WW2 as an example, Finnish populations were not welcoming the Finnish army to Karelia. But according to Wikipedia also the Finnish armies also received up to more than 7,000 Swedish, Estonian and Karelian Volunteers and Soviet POWs to fight against the S.U.. So if German co-belligrents especially Finland and Estonia which inhabits very close to Leningrad could better administer their lands, they could play indirectly a factor of tipping the balance in favor of Germany. As a note, Spanish Blue Division who participated in the siege of Leningrad could have fought near Stalingrad in place of the Hungarian 2nd Army who could have been diverted to the Finland theatre, not to mention Hungarians are a Finno-Urgic people. About 300 Hungarians volunteers participated the Winter War for the Finns so they were at least experienced in fighting in those harsh climate and geography. If the Army Group North objectives had succeeded with Hungarian 2nd Army helping out the Finns, the Hungarian officers would earn valuable experience in fighting in harsh geography which in turn help the nation's own defense against the S.U.. In a nutshell, issues of directing peoples from different latitudes exist. 88. 88 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: You seem locked into a scheme of an assault on Leningrad in 1942, whereas I suggested its value would have been to be the main target of the original 1941 invasion. In 1941, the Hungarian contribution to Barbarossa was only one cavalry & two armoured brigades. These armoured units had light, obsolescent machines that were of little fighting value. The Spanish Division Azul (250 Infanterie Division to dieWehrmacht) did not take the field until October 1941. In your 1942-based scheme, it alone would have been wholly insufficient to replace the entire Hungarian Second Army in the Axis line. Though the division fought like lions, it was only 18,000 men. It could not replace the 209,000-man Second Army (nine light infantry divisions & one armoured division – again, armed with light, obsolescent armour). Further, the Spaniards would be removed from the German line south of the city while, in your idea, the Hungarians would be put in line north of the city. The logistics of moving the Hungarians would be an extreme strain on the supply system. I hold that in 1941 the numbers of troops (German & Finn) were adequate to capture Leningrad PROVIDED that the Finns acted in concert with the German Heeresgruppe Nord & attacked the city simultaneously from both sides. In other words, nothing needed to be changed from the original Order of Battle. The sole change would be to use a better strategy. 89. 89 knightdepaix says: Regarding "Leningrad" according to Wikipedia, Captain Adrian von Fölkersam was born in "St. Petersburg", could be assigned to Army Group North and stationed at Leningrad after its suggested German capture. and Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven who obviously detested the one ultimate German political leadership, 90. 90 knightdepaix says: before the 1944 plot, could be released to help Finland (in other words dismissed from the Heer for good) against the S.U. during the Operation Barbarossa. In other words, military personnel within the \Axis\ and its co-belligerents can be better organized. — Sorry for that, mistakenly press "Submit Comment" 91. 91 knightdepaix says: A cousin of Wessel, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven had been a Leutnant, commander of 2./Panzer-Regiment 2., and after the war, he achieved to become a Bundeswehr general. So non-German co-belligerents could use some capable Baltic German military personnel, especially Finland where sparse local population would concentrate on civilian matters and leave military matters to professionals. 92. 92 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: Upon further consideration, I highly doubt that Hungarian troops would respond well at all to being sent to the distance forests & tundra of Finland & Russia to fight. They could see some point to marching more-or-less directly east against the S.U., & were adequate to fill a place in the line but, like the Rumanians & Italians, morale declines & became ever-less effective with ever step further east that they marched. Regarding Von Folkersam & von Loringhoven, I doubt that either would be given much consideration with regard to governing a captured Leningrad area. They were far too low in the command chain. 93. 93 knightdepaix says: Thank you for reading my comments, Lameck. You may have reading too much into my comments: some capable Baltic Germans and peoples could contribute to Finnish and German effort in the Karelian, Komi Peninsula and Baltic areas of combat, thus relieving valuable German high command to fight for Army Group Center and South against the mighter Soviet main force. FOR EXAMPLE, after capturing Leningrad, Karelia, Komi Peninsula and Murmansk. Walter Model would be the overall commander for that Finland and Leningrad theatre, in coordination with Edouard Dietl etc.; however, those other guys would be under Model. • 93.1 Ronald Lameck says: Knightdepaix: It is more likely that the fall of Leningrad would cause a rapid decline in the morale of the S.U. people & a dramatic decline in the will to continue to resist among the Soviet military. It would be likely to spawn uprisings among the Cossacks, Kazakhs, & Azerbijanis as a minimum. Certainly, a large part of Heeresgruppe Nord could be transferred to other commands. However, the vast area of its front would still require the need for a Feldmarschall to co-ordinate command. Had Leningrad been seized, I expect Hitler & O.K.W. would have been quite satisfied to let the Ritter von Leeb retain command. In this environment, Model of 1941 would be wholly inadequate. He began the invasion as a division commander & was only promoted to General der Panzertruppen & put in command of a Corps in Nov. 1941. At that time, he would have been only a peer of Dietl, who was a General der Gebirgstruppen from June 1940. Dietl would be far better suited to command the type of troops that were in that section of the front, & far better suited to plan for the terrain involved. An armoured commander would be next to useless in such environs &, anyway, Hitler seldom removed a commander who had been successful. • 93.1.1 knightdepaix says: I agreed that Model would not be as useful as tank commander but my point was to assign military leadership known for defensive abilities to station where Army Group North had captured. Dietl would still be a good choice: he proved himself in leadership combating around Narvik in harsh environment. http://www.karty.by/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/railway_SSSR_schema.jpg Comparing the density of lines of communication near Moscow and in Karelia and Komi P., troops fighting with heavy machines that relied on the lines will be less effective than light machines or even biological mobility (cavalry, bicycles, skis) etc. Because of the increased emphasis of human factor, comradeship and communication among fighting troops will be magnified. Hungarians and Finnish troops were comrade in the Winter War; their countries both suffered from neighboring powerful nations, and their languages are similar, belonging to the same Finno-Urgic language grouping, an advantage over some other troops grouping among German co-belligerents. 94. 94 Triumphtr6 says: To say the Germans could use the soviet railways is a joke. The gauges were a total different width. it took great effort to unload and to reload on to the different trains, supply would have been slow and cumbersome. The alternative would be to rip up the lines and relay. saying that the germans did so. So to answer the question that the germans could use the soviet railways in a couple of weeks would not be entirely true and be effective. • 94.1 Ronald Lameck says: Triumphtr6: In fact, the Axis DID use S.U. railways. It only required laying a third rail between the two of the original track so that one previous rail & the newly-laid one were the correct width. Even a relatively small crew could adjust 30-35 Km. of rail in a week this way. They could then remove the other S.U. rail & move it forward to adjust track as they moved further up the line. This greatly reduced the need to ship new rail from the west. It was an added burden, but not nearly so much as some might think. Then, when retreating, they used an engine running in reverse with a large hook hanging over the front. It would catch on a cross-tie & rip it & succeeding ties out of the ground they were laid on/in to tear the entire track to pieces. It also generally bent the rails rather severely. This meant the S.U. then had to replace everything – ties, rails, spikes, etc., which was much more labor-intensive & time consuming. 95. 95 Neil says: Ronald, Have you heard of the Nazi's Generalplan Ost? Basically, the Nazi regime planned to exterminate or enslave the majority of people living in the captured eastern territories (or Lebensraum). This was a 25 year plan! The problem with asking people who lived under both regimes about their quality of life was that there is a survivorship bias. The Nazis killed their political opponents and millions of others deemed to be subhuman. Did you ask a variety of people (e.g. Jewish, homosexual, handicapped, etc.) how they felt about the Nazi and Soviet regimes? The Soviet regime committed many crimes as well and is also responsible for the deaths of millions. However, the Nazi regime's actions resulted in the deaths of millions in a few short years, and they planned to continue killing for a further 25 years! This, in my opinion, makes the continuance of the Nazi regime (in alternative history) to be an utterly abhorrent and terrifying thought. 96. 96 Neil says: Ronald, You might find this blog to be interesting: http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/strength-and-loss-data-eastern-front.html. It details the German and Soviet strength and loss data on the Eastern front per quarter from 1941 to 1945. As I've previously argued, the Germans lost the war because they fought a war of annihilation (rather than liberation), giving the many different people of the Soviet Union no choice but to fight against the Germans. The Nazi regime wanted to kill or enslave the majority of the Soviet people; this was a worse alternative to the Soviet regime. This enabled Stalin and the Soviet regime to mobilize and motivate millions of soldiers to fight against the Germans. The Germans lost the war because they could replace their losses, while the Soviets could easily replace their losses. In fact, the Soviet army rapidly grew in numbers despite the loss of millions. The Germans were doomed as soon as they launched their war into the East because it was a war of annihilation. This massive disadvantage could not have been countered by a simple change in Wehrmacht strategy (as has been suggested in alternative histories). • 96.1 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: I think you have been deceived somewhat by the after the fact claims of "resistance" to the Nazi regime that in fact for most of the war did not exist at more than a minimal level & never did at anything like the degree claimed. E.g.; Norway: Almost 12,500 children born to Norwegian women were fathered by German soldiers. Post-war, to promote the illusion of "resistance", some of these women were imprisoned in psychiatric hospitals & most of the children were seized to become wards of the state. More than 250,000 were born to French women, fathered by German soldiers. More than 1 million children were born to S.U. women, fathered by German soldiers. The Netherlands, per-capita, gave the greatest number of volunteers to die Wehrmacht. The German woman who introduced me to my wife told how her husband (conscripted into die Wehrmacht) planned that they would live in Brittany after the war. Real resistance was seldom until after the "D-Day" landings. The small number of German troops needed to garrison the areas shows that almost all people had a generally acceptable relation with the Nazi military government. In the S.U., until 1942, resistance was virtually non-existent save for in scattered places where it was done by handfuls of Red Army men who had been cut off. After the Axis retreat in winter 41-2, many joined partisans to try to stay in the "good books" of the Soviets "just in case." The great problem is that, as neither Leningrad nor Moscow were captured, proof of a general S.U. collapse can only remain a hypothesis. Still,it is based on the effects of the capture of other large S.U. cities – Kiev, Minsk (especially), Smolensk, Kharkov. No matter how you slice it, the Nazi-Soviet war was a duel between & Beelzebub & Satan. Why the West would not just sit back & let them beat each other senseless is one of the great mysteries that will keep fora such as this one in existence & heavily populated for centuries. 97. 97 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: Have you heard of \the liquidation of the Kulaks?\ The Soviet regime planned to & DID exterminate or enslave a large number (whether they comprised a majority or just a large number, I can't say) of people living in (mostly) the western territories (or bread basket) that were forcibly denied their effort to gain their independence during the Russian Civil War. At least 1.8 million were killed, many more \disappeared.\ Exact numbers are hard to accurately determine due to a lack of records. This was a long-term plan, only interrupted by Fall Barbarossa. Have you heard of the \Holomodor [hunger extermination]\ in the Ukraine? The Soviet regime planned to & DID exterminate millions of ethnic Ukrainians. Again, exact numbers are hard top determine due to a lack of records. Most likely, it was about 4 million dead & more than 6 million born with defects. I could go on, but it becomes trite to tit-for-tat about evil. After all, the Soviets ALSO killed their political opponents & millions of others deemed to be subhuman. For that matter, so did the U.K. (numerous places), the U.S. (natives, blacks), etc., etc., etc., – ad infinitum. It truly is, as Christ allegedly said \Let the one of you who is without sin cast the first stone.\ If you eschew religion, as Otha Elias \Bo Diddley\ Bates put it, \Before You Accuse Me take a look at yourself.\ You think the Nazi regime is somehow more evil because it just killed outright rather than drag people off thousands of kilometres to work them like pack animals as they slowly starved to death? Is it all a matter of some sort of efficiency rating? I did not ASK anyone. They told. I didn't go on a planned expedition in search of a representative sample. Further, it's not as if Jews can be just picked out of a crowd. They don't wear yellow stars That was a noble British idea, used before & during their expulsion of Jews starting in 1217. They were then banned from the lands until the mid-1650's. Such a good idea was of course copied – in Venice, for the same reason, starting in 1491. As I have written supra – in everything Hitler did or tried to do, he copied from others elsewhere. Most of the homosexuals do not wear a badge proclaiming their interest either – not even the many in Berlin, Hamburg or Munich that were in parades, etc. In four European visits, I have never seen a \handicapped\ person, although I am told they do exist, & those special doors, ramps, etc. must be there for someone. You posit a \survivor bias\, but offer no evidence of its existence. You create this to try to negate what people openly said to me. Based on much larger numbers I met who never knew the Nazi regime at all, but who were born in & lived through the last 3-4 decades of the S.U. or its \Warsaw Pact\ minions, many have an odd nostalgia about \die Alten Tages.\ This, despite the 17,000 bodies found beneath the parking lot of \Bautzen Zwei\, the main Stasi prison of the Deutsche Demokratik Republik. A parking lot I walked across to visit the prison in 2008. This, in my opinion, made the existence of the Soviet regime an utterly abhorrent & terrifying thought. What is almost as repulsive is that we both live in nations that knowingly & willingly allied themselves to that regime in what amounts to no more than a desire to retain an economic hegemony for the U.K. & France that they no longer possess anyway. • 97.1 Neil says: Ronald, You admit that you haven't searched for a representative sample of views. So, it is quite likely that your opinion has been biased by an unrepresentative sample. I am surprised that you would make general claims about how people were treated under the Nazi and Soviet regimes based on the views of a dozen people. I'm very surprised that you say there is no evidence of survivorship bias because you have acknowledged that the Nazi regime murdered millions of people. It is an historical fact that the Nazi regime targeted specific groups in the population including Jews, homosexuals, handicapped, Slavs, etc. A far greater proportion of people that benefited from the Nazi regime survived the war than those that were the target the Nazi regime. Tragically, there have been many genocidal regimes in human history. But this provides no defense or justification for the Nazi's crimes. Again we are moving away from the main point of this thread, which is why did the Germany loss the war and is there anything they could have done differently to have won the war. My argument is that entering into a war of annihilation was the Nazi regime's fundamental strategic mistake. A war of liberation would have been far more effective against the Soviet regime. However, the Nazi regime would have never adopted such a strategy. Thus, they were doomed to fail. • 97.2 Christopher Dean says: If you want accurate numbers on how many people including kulaks then read two books as I have read them……..robert conquest in 'The great Terror' and aleksandr solzenitsyn in 'The Gulag Archipelago' in all 8.6 million loyal soviets were exterminated and that does not include 1.8 million kulaks." Stalin told roosevelt and churchill that if they did not send more equipment and foodstuffs to russia he would make a separate peace with hitler……so in essence he blackmailed England and the U.S. Again, as I mentioned, had Hitler started the invasion of russia on april 6th his troops would have not suffered so much and also Hitler did not want to start the war until 1942 but his parkinsons forced him to start it in 1939. 98. 98 Neil says: Ronald, You appear to be getting off topic. The number of children that had German soldiers as their fathers is not particularly relevant to the argument I put forward. There were hundreds of thousands of babies born in Germany after the war that had Soviet fathers and German mothers. Is this evidence of peaceful coexistence between the German and Soviet peoples? Of course not, as many women were raped by Soviet soldiers. Equally, German soldiers raped and coerced Soviet women. What choice did staving Soviet women have but to give themselves to German soldiers in exchange for food, clothes, protection, etc. This is the real tragedy of the war. It wasn't a dual between Beelzebub and Statan, but a no win situation for millions of innocent people. Back to the main issue addressed in this thread: My argument is that it doesn't matter if Germany had focused on Leningrad or Moscow because their brutal treatment of the local populations meant that the Soviet regime has an easy job convincing the Soviet people to take up arms against the German invaders. The evidence is unambiguous: The Wehrmacht couldn't replace their losses at the same rate that the Soviets could. The Soviet forces rapidly swelled in numbers and then overwhelmed the Wehrmacht. The only possibility for a collapse of the Soviet regime would have been if the Nazi regime had acted as liberators, not annihilators. But this goes against their fundamental principles. And this is why the Nazi regime was doomed as soon as they entered the war against the Soviet Union. If the Wehrmacht had treated captured Soviet soldiers with dignity and respect, rather than staving them to death, and had set up independent governments (particularly in the Ukraine), rather than looting the occupied countries and enslaving and killing their peoples, then the outcome of the war would have been very different. 99. 99 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: Definitely maybe. Tell us from where came this alleged great surge of S.U. citizens who went off so willingly to war. Not the Baltic states. Quite the opposite. Large numbers joined the Wehrmacht. In facts, remnants of 15th SS (Latvian) division were among those who made the last stand at die Reichstag in May, 1945. Not the Ukrainians, many of whom continued to fight the S.U. in a bid for independence until the end of the 1940s. Not the Cossacks. They formed a cavalry corps for the Axis & bitterly resented the sell-out by the U.K. that saw almost all forcibly re-patriated to the S.U., where thousands were shot on the docks at Odessa as they were unloaded from the ships. – I COULD go through every ethnic group of the S.U. – almost all of whom were reluctant members. But it gets trite. Then you try to dismiss the children as all due to rape. But people had access to abortion even then, especially for rape. As Gebirgsarmee 20 retreated from Finland, hundreds of Finn women who were engaged to German soldiers went with them. If caught by Finn troops, many were shot. Most were imprisoned post-war for up to 5 years. (It is unknown if this was at the insistence of the S.U.) You likely have seen the many photos of French, Belgian & Dutch women who had their heads shaved for fraternising with German troops. No, it was NOT all a horror story. That is reductionism created after the fact to further demonise Germany & Germans, done in part to assauge the guilt for acts like the bombing of Dresden & to pretend that sizable numbers did not agree with the intent to destroy the S.U. & its peculiar brand of Commuism. As noted – even the Red Army was quite a bit of a rag-tag entity by the end of the war. 100. 100 knightdepaix says: Back to the topic and some summary. Regardless of east or west direction the mighty armies of German and Soviet attacks, the vast, plain geography of the \middle-land\ remains. So in the big picture, Soviet throwing the towel just because Moscow is captured would not be reasonable. However, If looking from a north to south direction, that is Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belorussia, Ukraine, Crimea, Kuban Steppe/Turkey, Caucausus, Baku, Iran, the lightning aggression of those two armies would be more reasonably achievable because less land to be guarded and more sea or waterways for civilian and military logistics. However, if looking from human factors, such as politics, cultures, administration etc, lightning aggression is less relevant in these discussion, but to break the will of invaded political leadership. Could capturing Moscow achieve this aim ? My take for German is to team up co-belligerents along that north-south axis. Based on recent combat before Barbarossa, Finland leading coalition forces of Estonian and Hungarian, in co-operation of experience German mountain or arctic troops would make sense. 1) Dietl's troop attacked from Petsamo towards Murmansk. Reason: Germans experienced in combat in Arctic, such as around Narvik. If successful, German can directly let Kriegsmarine and U-boat in port. Amphibious landing near the city could also be possible. 2) Hungarian cavalries regiment team up with Finnish troops attacked to cut the line of communication from Murmansk to Karelia/Belomorsk. Reason: comradeship and combat experience in co-ordination during the Winter War. These cavalries provide tactic mobility complementary to guerrilla or mobile warfare that the Finnish troops had been fighting in. Also not much railway in Karelia and Komi Peninsula, so biological (cavalries, bicycles) or light motorized/mechanized mobility would be crucial than heavier ones. Economy of force and resources are important. 3) Hungarian mechanized infantry or light tanks from captured French inventory (light tanks and trucks) and Panzer 1 and 2 attacked in lower echelon under Finnish Army of Karelia. Economy of force and resources are also important in this Ladoga Karelia. Once reaching River Svir, these Hungarian would attack northeast along the lines of communication such as the Soviet Murman railway. Hungarian brigades and the Finnish Army of Karelia and tactical bombing (from Helsinki etc.) acted as hammer; troops from 2) and eventually 1) acted as anvil. Although these combats might not mean much on the surface to capturing Leningrad in 1941, capturing Murmansk, the entire Komi Peninisula and Karelia up to River Svir and Neva will cut land-lense route in the short term. In long term, those captured areas provide stationing etc. as rear. In longer term, those captured allow influx of Finno-Urgic peoples escaping from German and Soviet hardship. Finland has been sparsely populated, even more so in addition of the captured lands. 101. 101 JP says: I think many people here overstate the importance of Murmansk and the aid supplied to the Soviets in 1941. Suffice it to say, most of the supplies and aid given to Stalin were of a peripheral nature. The Soviet Union was self-sufficient in the areas of minerals and commodities even with the loss of the Ukraine and the Donets. Yes, foodstuffs from the US and the UK allowed the Soviet economy to concentrate more on military industrial products; but, that was a secondary consideration. And it wans't until 1944 with the arrival of tens of thousands of Studebaker trucks, did Ally support make itself felt in a significant way on the front. In the summer of 1944, the Soviet infantry was largely mobile thanks in large part to the 21/2 ton trucks sent from the US. During the climatic summer of 1941 and into the Winter of 1942, the Soviet Union was pretty much on its own. It fell back on its own resources. Its armor, rifles, artillery, machine guns, and aircraft were all its own inventions. It was Soviet blood and armor, as well as its geography and strategy that turned the tables of the Third Reich. Yes, there were desperate days and weeks. And as later as the Winter-Spring of 1943, there was some indication that Stalin may have considered brokering a separate peace with Hitler. However, we shouldn't under-estimate the industrial and social planning that allowed the Soviet Union to defeat Hitler at Smolensk in 1941 (stopping Hitler in August of 1941 along the Dnepr Land bridge should be considered a Soviet victory). 102. 102 Ronald Lameck says: JP: The value of capturing Murmansk was not only that it would negate its use as a supply base. It could also be a Kriegsmarine submarine base. This would trap the Soviet Red Banner fleet in Archangelsk, putting it at great risk if it tried to sortie & permanently close that port too as a way for the U.K. to supply the S.U. This would create a greater sense of isolation at Stavka, making the idea of seeking a negotiated peace loom larger. For all its resources, the S.U. had great problems to create radio tubes or to make enough ammunition. Lack of both would greatly limit its military efforts. It lacked medical supplies, meaning many soldiers who were injured would die. The lack of food would affect both the military and production. That was certainly NOT just \a secondary consideration.\ It was very much less any S.U. strategy that saved its situation in 1941. Rather, it was the haphazard child-in-a-candy-store strategy of the Axis that decided the issue. 103. 103 knightdepaix says: I agree with JP that the SU had been self-sufficient in the areas of minerals and commodities even with the loss of the Ukraine and the Donets. For German military that fought with mobile offense to break the WILL of opposing political and/or military leadership to carrying on the defense, they shall take advantage of the Soviet possible peace consideration in 1943, as indicated above. So the Soviet would even more probably had considered peace talk during the darkest later halves of 1941. For German, attacking and capturing the flanks (north – Leningrad, Finland, Karellia, Komi Peninsula, Petsamo and Murmansk, south – Ukraine and the Donets, Crimea, Kuban Steppe, Caucasus) to defeat the S.U. by piece-by-piece conquest of lands would force peace talk with the SU; that would be achieved with the general northeast direction Army Group North were attacking towards (as suggested by Lameck). Finnish and other co-belligerents military co-operation and participation towards Leningrad were \icing on the cake\ as Finnish political leadership had shown own calculation throughout the Winter War and hence would take care of their own in the face of numerous German request to attack Leningrad and neighborhood. 104. 104 JP says: I always wondered what would have transpired if the OKH planned a campaign that would have taken 2 campaign seasons and not 1? Erich von Manstein, in his memoirs, mentioned a salient fact that laid the foundations for all of OKW and OKH planning: they both assumed that they had no choice in planning an all or nothing invasion that would encompass only the late spring through late autumn period of 1941. A biographer of Manstein, Benoit Le May, made an interesting point concerning the German General Staffs circa 1900-1945: They were all followers of Alfred von Schlieffen and not Helmuth von Moltke. Moltke was a firm believer in wielding national power that was closely tied to Prussian/German diplomatic and economic interests; Moltke was a son of Enlightenment, and Reason guided almost all of his decision both strategically and administratively. Moltke was also a disciple of Clausewitz. The political end game determined the military strategy. And for high level planners, the long term political interests should always guide the structure and strategy of the Army as a whole. Schliefflen, should be considered one of Germany preeminent military thinkers and historians of all time. However, his outlook differed from Moltke in one regard. He believed that the German way of war, if executed correctly could win any European war regardless of the political endgame. His Schlieffen Plan was in some ways a repudiation of the Moltke-Clausewitz ideal. Most people should realize that the Schlieffen Plan was not born out of Prussian triumphalism, but out of desperation; the Second Reich's deteriorating diplomatic situation, in Schlieffen's point of view, necessitated a bold, if not reckless plan that was sure to involve the world's preeminent naval power, Great Britain, into the war as a belligerent. But, Schlieffen believed that the German way of war was far superior and would eventually win the day. To make up for any logistical or administrative failings of the plan, the German General Staff planned the opening moves of the war down to the last platoon. Again, this goes against the Moltke ideal, in that wars should not be planned; strategy, in Moltke's eyes is nothing more than making a general plan that gives the Chief of Staff the most flexibility. The Schlieffen Plan and Barbarossa did none of these. The high level staff officers of the Wehrmacht, unlike say, the staff of General Marshall, did not take geopolitics into account when planning Barbarossa. Manstein made this point clearly in his memoirs. They were all children of Schlieffen; the Wehrmacht would succeed because their tactics and way of war would succeed. In retrospect, one wonders what the outcome would have been if they planned on a 2 step 2 year campaign and not the desperate drive to Moscow. David Glanz records in painful detail the rapid deterioration of Army Group Center's panzer waffen during the period July through August 1941. The same deterioration occurred in Army Group North's AOR; Hoeppner continually had to split his 2 panzer corps into smaller task forces in order to deal with stubborn Russian resistance. Like the panzers of AG Center, they were being bled white. From a purely strategic position, the Germans of 1941 were playing a war against time; they put all of their cards on the table betting that they could militarily defeat the USSR in 1 campaign season. Almost their entire Army was deployed in the East with no strategic reserves. Hitler, on the other hand, was hoping for a political victory was the Minsk operation was complete. As he quipped, \One more push and the entire rotten edifice would come crashing down.\ I think intuitively, both the OKH and Hitler believed that Germany could not win if the war dragged on more than 4 or 5 months. Yet, as Manstein alluded to, this perhaps was the only wise option available to Nazis Germany(that is, one they decided to go to war with Russia). Like the Schlieffen Plan, the invasion of the USSR in 1941 was a huge gamble bereft of any clear strategic thinking. 105. 105 Ronald Lameck says: Christopher: Your issue has already been addressed by me below at 94.1. In fact, the S.U. gauge was WIDER than the European gauge. This made altering the line rather easy (see below). The problem was actually greater for the S.U.: In most places, as the Axis retreated, a locomotive with a large hook attached to its front was driven in reverse. The hook would pull on the cross-ties, ripping them out of the ground, usually breaking them in half & bending the rails. The entire line would then have to be re-built almost from \scratch.\ 106. 106 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: A few problems with your hypothesis: 1. Finland never showed much enthusiasm for doing more than re-acquiring the territory it lost in the Winter War. There does not seem to have been any intent to create a \Greater Finland\ at all. 2. Large-scale offensive action in Karelia was very difficult. The land is mostly muskeg & coniferous forest with very few roads, all of poor quality. Communications & supply of large units was near-impossible. To attempt it would simply be trying in the reverse direction the same thing the S.U. did in 1939-40, almost certainly with the same costly & miserable results. 3. As Estonia was S.U.-occupied, it could not provide any assistance until the Red Army was forced to retreat & its men could be gathered, trained & equipped. That would take months as a minimum. 4. Hungary was not part of the original Barbarossa Order of Battle. It did not join the war until a few days after the offensive was under way. You have a greatly inflated opinion of what its military could do. Most of its troops were poorly trained & most of its equipment was better-suited to WWI. Its armour was lightly armed & armoured, & historically was falling to pieces just from negotiating the Ukrainian steppes. It would have been all but useless in the much harsher northern terrain. You also do not seem to acknowledge the following: a. the great logistical problem of moving that force up into central Finland b. that the Hungarians performed poorly even in on the steppes many hundreds of Km. to the south, which suggests they would be even less effective in a much harsher climate. c. that its troops were barely adequate for defense, but ill-equipped for offensive action. No matter how you look at it, the S.U. would not be defeated even if it lost the whole of its territory north of L. Ladoga. But to lose Leningrad would have been an enormous blow to its morale. • 106.1 knightdepaix says: Hi Mr. Lameck: Thank you for your reply. Both Hungarian and Finnish troops had been comrades in the successful Winter War that had dragged Soviet troops into snowy quagmire. On the other hand, Soviet troops in the first lost defeated stage of the Winter War had come from Ukraine, near Caucasus where snowy environment were rare. In light of this successful coordinated combat, Hungarian troops would perform more or less equally as well with the Finnish troops on the Isthmus between Lakes Ladoga and Onega and as part of Operation Arctic Fox and Platinum Fox in that German troops used Panzer I and II, captured French light tanks. Why not equipping the Hungarian troops that had already proven themselves in combat successful with Finnish comrades in harsh environment. German troops except those under Dietl which had fought well near Narvik could be allotted with Army Group North during planning OB. However, as you have noted, Hungarians troops were not part of the original Barbarossa Order of Battle whereas Finnish military leadership had been in long discussion with German military leadership for operations in Karelia and Komi peninsula. Therefore, despite Estonian troops participated in the Winter War, they could not contribute at the initial months of OB because German troops removed Soviet military presence in OB. However, as Estonian and Karelian POWs from the Red Army were recovered by German troops, these POWs could be sent to Finland to joint the combat under Finnish leadership. Outside of these overlooked potential addition to Finnish troops, Finnish leadership might have also rejected Soviet gesture of peace-talk in the darkest month for the invaded S.U.. Finnish leadership counted on the initial OB success that they should have negotiated instead for political gain in land cession from the S.U.; Just as JP mentioned, "Moltke was also a disciple of Clausewitz. The political end game determined the military strategy. And for high level planners, the long term political interests should always guide the structure and strategy of the Army as a whole." So all in all, the above leads us back to a more or less agreement: OB needed better organizing and equipped co-belligerent troops and aim(s) such as capturing Leningrad. Just a note, is your plan similar to that by Erich Marcks ? • 106.1.1 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: The Hungarian contribution to Finland in the Winter War was some equipment (much of it seized from Poland in that campaign), & only a few soldiers – almost surely less than 1000. This included a "battalion" of 346 (counting 2 doctors & 2 priests)., & a few individuals who volunteered & found their own way to Finland. As the battalion did not take the line until 2 March 1940, its effect on the war was negligible – The Treaty of Moscow ended the war 11 days later. It is therefore not possible to make an opinion on how well the unit would have performed. Still, it is unlikely that Hungary or its soldiers would accept being shipped to the remote forests of a foreign land to fight when the cause for war in the first place was a (possibly dubious) small bomb raid by the Red Air Force. They wanted to join in the direct attack at the "communist beast." The Estonian contribution was equally miniscule – a handful of equipment & a few hundred volunteers at best. It fielded its army of 170,000 to defend its border from the S.U. "front" of 400,000 that threatened its border. By the Wehrmacht plan as employed in 1941, it did not have armour to spare to send to the Finnish forests. It needed every machine it could get to press the offensive in strategically relevant areas. The Finn army alone or, at best, reinforced by a German armoured corps (which could have been dispatched north after the Balkan campaign), would have allowed Leningrad to be in peril from two directions, dissipating Soviet strength & morale & making the fall of the city much more likely. More to come soon. BUSY! • 106.2 knightdepaix says: Obviously, two Finland-related issues at stake: military capabilities and political aims. This reply concentrates on the former. During the first stage of the Winter War, Finnish troops had halted, delayed or dragged Soviet troops into snowy quagmire whose soldiers had come from Ukraine and near Caucasus, also due to inefficient lines of communications. Under S. Timoshenko, massed infantry, artillery and armor broke the Finnish resistance and defense lines. Essentially, the differences had laid in lines of communications of the defenders and invaders. In "Continuation War" that would be part of OB in Finland, Soviet troops would definitely hold the Murman railway and lines of communications along the West coast of White Sea. If Finnish troops would be successful in driving out those Soviet defenders by drawing on past combat experience, more human power, preferably from Finnish heritages. Which German "co-belligerents" could help Finnish troops under these conditions ? Hungarians. Estonians and Karelians could contribute but theirs would not be comparable to Germans or hence Hungarians. If participation from a proactive co-belligerent could not be discussed on in useful details, reactive one from other nations whose volunteers had helped in the Winter War would even less reasonably to be expected for. German participation besides aims on Murmansk, Leningrad and cutting lines of communications on the Murman railway would be reactive. Why would the German strategy be interested in Karelia and the Komi Peninsula ? Defending the waterway border essentially from the Gulf of Finland to the White Sea would require less German human power and hence equipment due to Finnish defense prowess demonstrated in the Winter War as long as the crucial political aim would have been achieved, that would be discussed in another thread. Last but not least, essentially more important to this topic at hand and the big picture, was the overall OB aim towards Leningrad, that Mr. Lameck have been conversing since thread #2 more than 2 years ago. 107. 107 Christopher Dean says: 1) there were not nine peace treaties that Hitler offered Churchill but five and the last one was the most generous…………….in it England would be able to keep its empire, keep its navy and its armed forces. In return all Hitler asked of England was to let him have a free hand in europe. 2) The only reason why Hitler sent the Wehrmacht to africa was to bail out mussolini whose Italians were lousy fighters……proof was when 117,000 Italians surrendered to 20,000 british. Hitler should have ignored mussolini. 3) Lastly Hitler made the biggest mistake in the battle of Britain…..had they not switched from bombing airfields to London the RAF would have survived for only 3 more weeks. 4) Hitler also committed the same mistake that Lyndon johnson made both took over the directing of the war and as Eisenhower said \war is much too dangerous to be left to politicians\ By the way mein kampf is half full of lies (I have read it) hitler never fought on the front lines but was a messenger runner between units. Lyndon johnson never fought in world war 2 but took it upon himself to tell the military how to fight the vietnam war and was so proud of this he said \they can't bomb an outhouse without my permission\ and he was telling rear gunners how to track and shoot down enemy planes. • 107.1 knightdepaix says: Just my 2 cents here: 2) Hitler should have ignored mussolini. — Almost total agree. Germany just involved on strategic level, nothing more. Just wanna concentrate on OB here. • 107.2 Ronald Lameck says: Christopher: This note drifts quite far off the topic at hand, but nevertheless deserves rebuttal. 1. Debating the number of offers made is far less relevant than observing the fact that they were made, but the Churchill violated the U.K. constitution by not even raising them to be discussed by Cabinet, let alone the house of Commons. In so doing, he bears a great part of the responsibility for ALL that transpired in Europe for the subsequent 50 years. 2. True, die Deutsche Afrika Korps was originally dispatched to bolster the weak Italian forces there. They were poorly trained, poorly equipped, with bad food & inadequate medical support. THAT was why so many surrendered when out-maneuvered by the British in Operation Compass. Could D.A.K. have been gainfully employed in "Barbarossa"? Of course. But it was necessary to prop up Italy to keep it in the war, or else almost the entire German south flank would be exposed. When Rommel's actions showed the British were vulnerable there, Hitler & Mussolini, both always prone to delusions of grandeur, attempted the mad notion of seizing all Egypt & taking the oil fields of Iraq. 3. The shift from bombing airfields to bombing cities – especially London was made in hope that the U.K. civilians would be terrorised & demoralised & demand of their government that it negotiate a peace. This is in keeping with the theory of the Italian Gen. Guilio Douhet in his influential 1920 book "The Command of the Air. By the time London was attacked (7 Sep.), it was unlikely that air superiority was going to be obtained anyway – the R.A.F. could simply have retreated to more northerly bases until it replaced its losses in men & machines. Any prospective invasion force would still have the Royal navy to contend with. To try the terror theory seemed like the best chance of success. 4. Right from the start, Hitler had always directed the German war effort in accordance with his will. He assumed that he had the best general overall understanding of all factors, & that the General Staff was too concentrated on purely military issues. In this, he was like Napoleon Bonaparte or Friedrich der Grosse, two of his heroes. It worked for Friedrich, & for Bonaparte for many years. He felt, rightly or wrongly, that he could do as well. B.T.W.; that quote (paraphrased & misattributed) was said by the French statesman George Clemenceau 5. Mein Kampf IS full of exaggerations & fabrications (very few autobiographies are not), but Hitler's report of his WWI military service is substantially supported by numerous other reports by a wide range of authors, former comrades, military records, etc. He WAS a front line infantryman in 16th Bavarian Infantry Regiment from its first day in combat (29 Oct. 1914) about 8Km. east of Ypres, Belgium until volunteering for & being appointed as a message runner (which was actually a very dangerous role – moreso than merely being a soldier in the line.) To try to deny or belittle his military service is to fly in the face of a vast body of historic research. One was not awarded the Iron Cross 2d Class (equal to the U.S Bronze Star) or 1st Class (equal to Silver Star) or the Wound Badge in Silver (wounded in action twice) by "goldbricking." 108. 108 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: To continue: It appears that the Finns were happy to accept the \low-hanging fruit\ they could gather by being an arms-length ally in the Axis attack. How they could expect to retain their re-acquired land without fully participating in causing the demise of the S.U. is a mystery to me – & possibly to many others. The strategy I would have used to attack the S.U. in 1941 would have been (very general): 1. Attack as originally scheduled on 15 May with every unit not side-tracked for the Balkan operations.. 2. Have the Rumanian army clear its former territory in Bessarabia (now Moldova), then go strictly to defense 3. After the Balkan operation was over, have all that units historically were transferred east to added to Barbarossa. However, rather than attaching to Heeregruppe Sud, almost all would reinforce H.G's Nord & Mittel. 4. By moving fresh units through the lines of tired ones, constantly renew the attack. 5. Primary target would be Leningrad, not Moscow. 6. Because of the earlier start, it should be possible to imperil Leningrad by the start of August instead of a week into September. 7. If Leningrad falls quickly, these leave a lot of time to make a thrust on Moscow, possibly capturing it before bad weather makes operations difficult. 8. Here, evaluate. S.U. general morale collapse & imminent surrender? Act to ensure this happens. If not – establish a winter line & hold it. • 108.1 knightdepaix says: This is the Finnish political aim discussion, continued from 106.2. Essentially the question was be "part of" OB into adversary's territory of a tactical view, thus related to military capabilities, and prospect for territory exchange during peace-making negotiations The Winter War contribution to national unity had been essential to "inter-war" development for acquiring East Karelia (cf. please check Risto Ryti's authorization of investigation under the suggestive "Finnlands Lebansraum"). So Finnish participation in OB as "co-belligerent" were not entirely to restore pre-Winter War Soviet-Finnish border; picking "low-hanging cherries" might actually help in favor of Finnish leadership. East Karelia, essentially the area south of the bend between Kola Peninsula and White Sea west coast to lsthmus between lakes Ladoga and Onega north of River Svir, had then become a target for political group and nationalist societies. Why would German leadership be interested in Finnish adventure in East Karelia and Kola Peninsula ? Geopolitically. Soviet military leadership had evidently overcome environmental difficulties under S. Timoshenko to win the Winter War at high cost, feeding to the German one-man political leadership vision of "rotten Soviet statue". By Finnish acquisition of East Karelia and Kola Peninsula, German leadership do not need to worry about Soviet military endeavor ferried onto the White Sea west coast that would eventually bend Finnish political leadership to Soviet one's will. The Finnish acquisition works obviously for Finnish right-wing ideology; essentially win-win situation for both political leadership. How to achieve this political aim ? Finland leadership's big mistake was in staying with the lower level tactical achievement when a higher level political solution would have accomplished the territory acquisition, highlighted by choosing the losing side. By the time of Soviet victory at Stalingrad and beyond, the window of negotiation opportunities leaving Finland with her territorial gains almost closed. Finland politics recognized the essential good relations with Britain and the US at the beginning months of OB/CW (Continuation War), and relation with Germany. By deploying fresh Hungarians, refitted Estonian and Karelian POWs from the Red Army, Finnish leadership achieve their own political aim in getting at least East Karelia and fighting the Red Army head-on. Also because of demographic change during the inter-war months, inhabitants in East Karelia had from mixed support to partisan opposition to Finnish military advancement. Besides Murmansk, Kandalaksha town and nearby Kandalaksha Gulf, Belomorsk town would be available for upgrading for port use. The coastal Vitino location serves nowadays as an oil-exporting port. These locations lay along the Murman railway, and for Belomorsk, the so-called White Sea-Baltic Canal. So cutting Murmansk's lines of communication from the rest of the S.U. appeared to solve future German problems from Lend-Lense but just created more issues in deployment, defense and the entangled Soviet-German-Finnish diplomatic relations, not to mention British and American. "Road of Life" during the siege of Leningrad indicated the Soviet capability and determination of supplying area under occupation or attack. White Sea west coast would have been easier for amphibious landings. Cutting Murman railway and occupying Murmansk and leaving the rest of lines of communications to Soviet use would be more inviting for Soviet supplying. So civilian administration (local and domestic politics included, obviously) would be more crucial in stabilizing the local demography in Finnish favor and hence indirectly helped German effort. Given the history of German administration of occupied area (a Quisling kind), Finnish effort would be more appealing to the locals: Civilians fleeing from German and Soviet hardship onto East Karelia would dilute local opposition that had been tackled by setting up concentration camps and other forceful means, for instance, using refitted Karelians from Soviet POWs to deal with local pro-Soviet partisan. Finnish and German military leadership could force a military endeavor northwards along Murman railway while the Finnish political leadership could reach a, however or maybe tentative, land cession agreement with Soviet Union for at least East Karelia. Finland could then close their own section of Murman railway so Hungarian and other co-belligerents could still attack the year-round ice free port, that and its lines of communication were its values for transportation. During the darkest months between late 1941 and early 1942, Soviet leadership could have tentatively given up Murmansk if ramped up Finland-led military endeavor would have been successful as suggested. • 108.1.1 knightdepaix says: Civilians fleeing from German and Soviet hardship onto East Karelia would dilute local opposition that had been tackled by setting up concentration camps and other forceful means, for instance, using refitted Karelians from Soviet POWs to deal with local pro-Soviet partisan. Correction: Managing concentration camps and other forceful means in East Karelia would cost less in administration, for instance, using refitted Karelian troops from Soviet POWs to deal with local pro-Soviet partisans. In contrast of Rumania managing Bessarabia, White Sea provided a prospect of maritime defense if Finland leadership could convince through realistic means Soviet one that Murmansk and Kola Peninsula would not be worth defending. Availability of Arkhangelsk port, though not ice-free year round, making civilian administration of East Karelia and Kola Peninsula, and political solution than military ones more appealing to German and obviously Finnish leadership: long term occupation administration than short-term military deployment to quell partisans and defense against Soviet military. • 108.1.2 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: Germany had little interest in the entire northern part of the front. Once securing its nickel supply, if Murmansk could have been taken, it would have shut down the most direct line for Lend-Lease from the U.K., but most of that came via Vladivostok on the east coast or through Iran. If Murmansk was made into a Kriegsmarine base for U-boats or surface ships or both, that would also shut down Soviet notions of landings along the west coast of the White Sea. There was simply nothing of strategic interest to Germany in the area. 109. 109 knightdepaix says: Regarding the German led OB attack towards Leningrad, I think it is our consensus? In addition, Giorgi Zhukov were the commander for its defense essentially since September 1941 until the Battle of Moscow. Zhukov would eventually defend Leningrad like Moscow if the German aim would reveal itself eventually. However, the coastal city lies at the corner of the vast North European plain, connected with railway etc.. Thus Germany had shorten and Soviet lengthened lines of communications: could maritime transport from Germany to Estonia and heading to Leningrad cost less than land transport from rest of the S.U. to the city ? • 109.1 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: Zhukov was a legend in his own mind who probably actually believed the dreck he wrote post-war about his "achievements." Possibly even more arrogant than Britain's Montgomery, his "How I Won the War" is even more absurd that the movie of that name starring John Lennon. But the interesting thing about St. Petersurg/Petrograd/Leningrad is that, while a difficult nut to crack from the west or southwest due to the limited frontage, it is almost impossible to attack from the east. L. Ladoga is a foil to direct attack, & the flanks can easily be covered. Once taken by the Axis, it would have been virtually impregnable. For this reason,. the odd reluctance of the Finns about attacking it directly from the Viipuri is a true mystery. 110. 110 knightdepaix says: To sum up, German advantage in OB: exerting power of 1) might through mobility > 2) nationhood through master race against subhumans > 3) legitimacy by dictatorship Soviet advantage in OB: exerting power of 1) might through human bodies and resources > 2) nationhood through cleansing of military leadership and civilians > 3) legitimacy by dictatorship German co-belligerent advantage in OB, Finland as an example: exerting power of 1) legitimacy through elite leadership > 2) righteousness through stubbornness in engaging the aforementioned powers of might > 3) nationhood though re-uniting peoples. Obviously, OB was the unveiling of power crashes that are very similar to each other. No wonder legitimacy of Finland did not enjoy among them. To win, Finland needed to do add power through legality (that is peace-talk, negotiation, treaty etc.) and might (volunteer help from other nations during the Winter War, re-armed POWs under same ethnic nationhood, buy or sent weapons from Germany, British and the US) Germany needed to add righteousness, (very hard to do, the guy was against the world), legitimacy (elitism of military leadership, partially achieved: the guy interfered….) Soviet needed to add righteousness (fight for motherland), legality (acceptance from global power community in contrast to its isolation due to the Winter War) Soviet eventually achieved without losing might and legitimacy. Germany failed, saving might. Thank you for reading my expressions of ideas. 111. 111 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: My \opinion\? NOT my opinion. Only the collection of experiences told to me by those who wanted to express them. When I go on vacation, I don't make scientific surveys. I go to see new places, new people, have new experiences. Going to the east German states was part of my wife showing me \the other half of the sky\ – where she was born & lived some of her life, & to meet relatives. If a dozen people tell me they had this experience & not that, I take it at face value. They lived through the regimes. I didn't. I'd love to know the experiences of my 3-dozen-odd Polish relatives who stayed there when much of the family moved to N. America at the turn of the 20th C. But the last contact with them was letters exchanged around Christmas 1944. What happened to them is unknown. No trace could be found by my great aunts when they made a journey in 1952 to search for them. So it goes. The whole of your 2nd paragraph applies equally to every act of evil ever perpetrated. The actors always had their targets. You assume a \survivor bias,\ but there is no evidence for it because their cannot be – the others didn't survive. That's about as circular as it is possible to get. It is ultimate reductionism – nothing means anything. I wonder where among anything I have ever written that you think you find \defense or justification\ of anything done by the Nazis? There is none. I only acknowledge that critics who believe they stand on some moral mountain are actually in the same quagmire. I note the facts, nothing more. I thought the main point of this forum was to explore how Germany could have adjusted its strategy used for Fall Barbarossa to either bring about the defeat of the S.U. in 1941 (which was Hitler's aim), or at least create conditions to assure it in 1942. I have made my case. • 111.1 Neil says: Ronald, In both of my last two posts, I explicitly stated that I thought our conversation was drifting off topic. My basic argument is that the Soviet Union was far stronger than the German's thought possible in 1941 and this fact along with the German's strategy of a war of annihilation meant that the German's could not win a war against the Soviet Union. No simple, realistic change can be made to the German's strategy that would have allowed for victory over the Red Army and resulted in the political collapse of the Soviet Union. You may find this article to be of interest: http://www.newrepublic.com/book/review/david-stahel-kiev-1941-hitler%27s-battle-supremacy-east Also, you may find this presentation to be of interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zinPbUZUHDE From a military perspective, the Germans did exceedingly well in World War 2 given their limited resources. They made mistakes, but every side made mistakes. They attacked the Soviet Union at the best possible time and made very significant inroads. However, the Germans were ultimately doomed to fail because of Nazi ideology and brutality, and their lack of resources relative to the Soviet Union, UK and USA. • 111.2 Neil says: Ronald, I hate to drift off topic, but a rebuttal to your comments is warranted. First, reductionism is necessary in an online forum. Otherwise, everyone's posts would be several thousand words in length. Second, there is a reasonably possibility that your opinion has been biased because you have not spoken to a representative sample of people that lived through World War 2 and the subsequent Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. I'm not suggesting that your opinion or the opinions of those you have spoken to is invalid. Instead, I'm suggesting that we all have our own biases that influence how we interpret the historical evidence concerning World War 2. Third, survivorship bias is an undeniable fact, unless you believe that the Nazis did not kill millions of Jews, Slavs, and others they considered to be subhuman. Many German people that survived the war had benefited greatly under the Nazi regime. Jewish property and possessions were confiscated and given to Nazis and other Germans. So, it is not surprising that German survivors of World War 2 preferred the Nazi regime to the Soviet regime. Fourth, I didn't accuse you of trying to defend or justify the Nazi's crimes. I simply pointed out that any crime cannot be justified on basis of other people's crimes. However, I note that you did state, "I DO think it would have been far better for the world overall, and eastern Europe in particular, had the S.U. government been obliterated…" To me, your statement ignores the fact that the Nazis were killing millions of Jews, Slavs and others, and planned to continue killing had the Soviet regime collapsed. Stalin and the Soviet regime was brutal and is responsible for the deaths of millions. Other regimes including the British and Americans are also responsible for many crimes against humanity. But the Nazi regime, had it continued, would have killed more people that any regime in history. For example, the Nazis killed about 3 million (or 90%) of Jews in Poland in a few short years of occupation. I hate to imagine what would have happened had the Nazis remained in power for decades. Personally, I would have preferred that neither the Nazi or Soviet regime had gained power or remained in power at the end of World War 2. I also acknowledge that the Ukrainian people suffered terribly under the Soviet regime, particularly while Stalin was leader. For them, World War 2 didn't end on V-E day. Now, let's get back to the topic at hand: Military strategy and tactics. 112. 112 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: It is unreasonable to conclude that the Winter War performances of the Finns or Red Army could be repeated. The 1939 Red Army still suffered the crisis of command caused by Stalin's 1937-8 purge of its officer corps. The Finns had the advantage of defending in deep forest, where roads were few & poor, making rapid advance all but impossible. This was exacerbated by the inclement weather. The 1941 fighting occurred in summer. The defending Red Army had the advantage of a rail line at its back that allowed rapid transfer of troops from north to south. The terrain & road problems would now work against the Finns. The Finns also could not expect manpower aid from Hungary: It's troops were fully engaged supporting Army Group South. There would be little aid from Estonia, as it was in Soviet clutches. After seizing the country in 1940, it ethnically cleansed about 35,000 people & compelled about 7.000 to join the Red military. After die Wehrmacht cleared the Red Army out, many Estonians joined it. Finally, Germany had no interest in the land in Karelia. Its sole interest was to have access to the nickel mined around Petsamo. 113. 113 Prashant Bist says: To all people who have analysed ww2 German offencive and Hitler.I would like to point about whatever you write here the platform used is either Google or any other like Facebook or tweeter all r american and as you all know Brit ally so ultimately Russian know about it.so my advice use some encrypted so that only serious people know about it. I am an Indian and salute to Hitler that because of him we r free .and all this economic warfare of us Brit combined to capture the world and EU .a new strategy for developing world and financial claws of world bank and IMF .plus WTO whoof .nightmare .Hitler should have prepared thoroughly and with first objective Moscow second Leningrad.with not flank secured then go for south for oil and stalingrad also with the help of turkey and local subdued population of Ukraine Belarus hungary Latvia .u know everything whremacht wouldent be able to handle and The world situation was to be decided then and theree..hit..iiin • 113.1 Neil says: Prashant, Hitler did not want India to be free. He admired the British for their subjugation of the Indian people. The Indian independence movement began in the late 1920s with notable figures such as Gandhi and Jinnah. As the British desperately needed Indian support in their struggle against the Axis (including Germany and Japan), the granting of independence to India perhaps occurred a bit sooner than it would have without World War 2. However, the strength of the Indian independence movement meant that India would have been granted independent without the advent of WW2. To give credit to Hitler is to ignore the brave actions of the leaders and many supporters of the Indian independent movement. 114. 114 Prashant Bist says: Hitler shouldn't have waseted bullets and chemical gas on Jews because chemical and biological weapons plus bullets and fuel for trucks were needed in1945.I am pretty sure Russia would have collapsed by north flank of Leningrad secured and Moscow taken .with reinforced supplies from Leningrad of fuel arms and munitions plus reinforced panzers the drive to south would have been easy .and Stalin would be conning for ensuing peace .leaving German army to secure Atlantic beach head.and again salute to the German economy that they r still giving competition to Americans.and Brit combined and still has euro and wh26 nations under their posession .fourth Reich in making. • 114.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: The Nazis killed Jews et al. in the war years mostly to save having to feed them. The Nazis were deeply affected by how Germany lost in WWI largely by being starved. Those killed were regarded as less than human (much as the U.S. regarded black slaves & N. American natives into at least the early 20th C.), which was ample justification (in their view) to kill them. Had the Nazi military been given 100% of the materiel used to destroy these people, it could not possibly have inflicted equal damage on the S.U. 115. 115 Prashant Bist says: Hitler was also right that american capatilism and bolvekshism of Lenin and Stalin will take over Germany in his final broadcast.and you see now the world is divided into two zones americana and Brit capitalism vs bricks Russian Chinese block but now it has taken over the whole world. 116. 116 Prashant Bist says: Don't take me lightly I have read mein Kampf been to harlhurse kologn Munich Frankfurt Leeds and know a little bit of wheremacht Luftwaffe and kreigsmarine structure.I may not know the exact unit number but have major idea about army group centre army group north army group south a and b and what happened at Nuremberg trial .and main leaders of third Reich .but I support their aim.finally what happened to france maginot line denmark norwey sweden poland austria chechoslovakia hugary etc.excuse me if I am not a German. 117. 117 knightdepaix says: I thought the main point of this forum was to explore how Germany could have adjusted its strategy used for Fall Barbarossa to either bring about the defeat of the S.U. in 1941 (which was Hitler's aim), or at least create conditions to assure it in 1942. I have made my case. – Lameck —– I agree. My points amend with better co-ordination among German co-belligerents under the German-led Barbarossa. In the case of Leningrad, Finland and Hungary could help. 118. 118 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: Axis success was disrupted because its members pursued their own goals, often to the exclusion of & detriment to the goals of other members. By contrast, the Allies (& S.U.) were quite collaborative. It is always easier to maintain or recover an existing state of affairs than to recover that which was lost years (or centuries) before or to make new gains. In 1941, Finland was mostly interested in recovering what it had lost to the S.U. in the 1940 Treaty of Moscow. A brief offensive to capture East Karelia was about the extent of Finn imperialistic efforts. This showed \tunnel vision.\ Had even 1/2 the troops devoted to this operation been sent north to aid the attack on Murmansk, that city & the rail line almost surely would have been captured & E. Karelia would have fallen due to lack of supply. Or, had those troops been used to aid a general attack from the Viipuri front in concert with the Wehrmacht attack from the south, Leningrad would almost certainly have been captured. After the U.K. declared war on Finland in Dec. 1941, it maintained a strictly defensive posture. Meanwhile, Hungary had its own regional & territorial designs. In the treaties ending WWI, it lost much territory to Rumania & the nascent Yugoslavia & Czechoslovakia. It joined the Tripartite Pact in Nov. 1940, but was neutral to the S.U. until two cities were bombed MAYBE by the Red Air Force, causing it to declare against S.U on 27 June 1941. Its contribution was only a Mobile Corps. After the U.K. declared war on it in Dec. 1941, Horthy tried to limit Hungarian involvement to a minimum. The nine light divisions & one armoured division of Second Army took the field in April 1942. Hungary was never in a position to provide any substantive aid to the Finnish aims in 1941. • 118.1 knightdepaix says: Attacking Leningrad in 1941 as first target with Finnish and German troops was a good choice but Finnish leadership, worrying about getting too deep involvement against the Soviet, would be very reluctant to participate in laying siege of the city. Hungarian involvement at the beginning of OB in 1941 was 2 corps with in total brigades of 1 Mountain 2 Motorized infantry 1 Cavalry 1 border guards bicycles battalions anti-aircraft battalions troops directly under the coprs' HQ's etc. Given the terrain lacking roads in East Karelia and Kola Peninsula, heavy armored warfare would not be favorable. Both Germans and Soviets considered those area of combat were secondary to what was happening in the south. So in essence, regardless of extent of German involvement of the siege of Leningrad in 1941, combined Finnish and Hungarian involvement plus Dietl's forces in Petsamo towards Murmansk would have been better because both nations preferred not to be involved too deep with German entanglement against the Soviet but relying on German forces taking the bulk of "spearhead" combat: let the co-belligerent fought their own war with looser German co-ordination. German forces could then concentrate their effort on Leningrad and whatsnot, and be less guity by critical analysis. • 118.1.1 Ronald Lameck says: knightdepaix: We have been already discussed your Karelian hypothesis beyond the point of circularity. To reiterate for what shall be my final time: Hungary was neutral to the S.U. when Barbarossa was started. It joined on the 5th day. In 1941 it contributed only a small corps, which was attached to the German Seventeenth Army. Without that corps, a hole would exist in the German front which would have to be filled by some other units, reducing the troop density even more The means to transfer the Hungarian units to Finland were not available at the time. There is NO indication that Hungary would have consented to its troops being so dispatched. The performance of the Hungarian corps was only mediocre. Your hypothesis is implausible,. 119. 119 Ronald Lameck says: To: Neil. At 16:28h (M.S.T.) 15 November 2014 I received copy of a note by you that begins: \I hate to drift off topic …\ Efforts to find it in this huge file of this forum so that I might reply to it are in vain. Accordingly, I try to do so herein. I hope this gets through to you. 1. Reductionism is never \necessary\ in a forum. I think you & I have ended up debating many issues in some detail that I did not think, & perhaps you as well, would arise. We do what we can. 2. You continue to refer to \my opinion\ & a bias in it that you presume based on some non-representative sample. But I have not stated my opinion. Rather, I have related historical facts or the views of people who lived in eastern Europe through the era from about 1930 & into the Third Millennium, by which time both the authoritarian regimes that form the basis of this forum were no more. I got the view of a man who had been an ardent Nazi. While in its infantry, in 1943 (aged 26 years) , he was seriously injured by gun-fire & captured by the Red Army. (That was good fortune. Almost all wounded the Red Army encountered were summarily shot..) He was given medical attention &, as a P.O.W., \converted\ to become an ardent member of the Soviet Communist Party. In a Siberian prison camp, he published \Rote Morgen\, his propaganda newspaper for P.O.W.'s. Post-war, he returned to his home town, Magdeburg, & was deputy mayor for almost 30 years 25 years. He made many trips to Moscow as a D.D.R. government.delegate. But even he declared life was much better & freer under the Nazi regime that under the S.U. or D.D.R. Hard to find any \survivor bias\ in him. If I have a bias, it is that war is a demented, criminal act that is never justifiable. (\There never was a good war or a bad peace.\ – Benjamin Franklin, 11 Sep. 1783) 3. To accept a survivor bias in one direction, you must accept it from all other possible directions too. Almost every participant in war acts on the belief that some other is inferior & worthy only of elimination. I talked to Siberians, Poles, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Hungarians & Estonians as well as Germans. Only you presume that I spoke solely to Germans. Many from many countries who survived the war benefited from their regimes – such as the man cited above. His family still lives in one of the nicer homes in Magdeburg, given to him by the Soviet Communist Party in 1947, stolen from – who knows? Post-war & for decades, the Soviets took everything that wasn't nailed down &, if they could pry it loose, it wasn't nailed down. So, once again, your conclusion is without merit. 4. Of course no crime can be justified on the basis of other people's crimes. But I was never justifying, just as Christ was not when he admonished that only the one who is sinless has the right to throw the first stone of condemnation. It is ludicrous hypocrisy beyond measure to continue to demonise a whole country & its people to the exclusion of all others – in particular others who are provably guilty of far worse crimes. Say what you will about Hitler, but he never advocated using poison gas (& anthrax) on others – especially civilians – as Churchill did. He never dropped any atomic bombs on anyone, as Truman did. (Or, as you advocated supra.) Finally, my statement does NOT \ignore\ anything done by the Nazi regime. Rather , it acknowledges that, compared to the S.U. & Communist China, its acts were far, far less. For you to conclude that it would have persisted forever is absurd. That's like saying the U.S. Army would have continued to slaughter N. American natives forever. It stopped only because the country had been overrun from coast to coast by \the white man\ & there were few natives left to kill anyway. Your conclusion is utterly devoid of any supporting evidence whatsoever – you know, I know it, the Universe knows it. It is wholly without merit & is indefensible. Personally, I, too, would have preferred that neither Nazi nor Soviet were around to blacken history after WWII. But that hope was shattered by the overweening stupidity of Churchill, who flipped & flopped like a flounder in a fish-fryer. I direct you to my comment at 16.1.1 supra. I rest my case, but always happy to discuss/debate with you on these subjects at any time.. • 119.1 Neil says: Ronald, I think we have reached an impasse on these issues. Any further debate is pointless because we are both not willing to accept the other person's arguments. We both think our own arguments are correct. It has been an interesting debate. But without a moderator or someone to judge the validity of our arguments, I don't see any point continuing this debate. Clearly both the Nazi and Soviet regimes were murderous and undesirable. Maybe if fate intervenes we can continue this debate in person one day, while enjoying some local beers. • 119.1.1 Ronald Lameck says: Neil: I agree we seem to be dribbling the same ball back & forth, & that it has been interesting. There is no flaw in having a strong view on a subject. The flaw would be to not have one at all. I suppose I consider the psychological aspects from my studies in that subject. I certainly could have cited numerous historical situations wherein willpower (or its lack) was the deciding factor. If fate allows us to pick up our hammers & tongs once more, I hope for our sakes it is over a table-full of Augustinerbrau. Brewed by the monastery of St. Augustine, it is found only in Munich &, for some reason, Eisenach. I consider it "God's Personal Beer." Thanks for a good debate. 120. 120 Prashant Bist says: Basic truth is that Hitlers high command had wrong information about the opposition and about weather lack of reserve units and fuel which was felt later in the war.the blunder of three front war us Brit with commonwealth and Russia all in 1941.a big mad joke.even a layman could have told Hitler about the size wealth population arms industrial might that Germany with Italy doesn't matter would be knocked out.Hitler should have concentrated on Brit only because it became the cause and launch pad for us invasion on Normandy.Brit medeteranian out by 1941 and having time for reinforcement and careful planning with more firepower atleast 2 years of peace and new panthers and tigers to lauch a surprise attack in 19 bec43.would have turned the tide for germany because German and soviet non aggression pact was in force on polish border • 120.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: To this and all of your submissions below: You drift VERY far off the discussion topic. You seem to have heard of some things or events, but to have not examined these in any detail. It would be tedious & redundant to do the work of studying for you. WWII is perhaps the most-written about & documented event in world history. Seek & you will find. • 120.2 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: You must consider that Hitler's philosophy was always generous & positive to the U.K. He considered the British as "cousins," which they are historically, genetically, etc. He did not want conflict with them at all. However, obliterating the S.U. was the core of his imperialist philosophy – itself a desire to be the new Charlemagne-Otto der Grosse. He also had intelligence that seemed quite reliable that Stalin intended to attack & absorb (at least) eastern Europe while Germany & the West were occupied in war against each other. He regarded "Barbarossa" as a pre-emptive strike. • 120.3 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: Hitler did not start a 3-front war. He started a 2-front one in the hope that he could eliminate or at least emasculate the S.U. as a way to bring the U.K. to consider peace. When he declared on the U.S. on 11 Dec, he was showing solidarity with his Japanese ally. The U.S. declared on Germany the same day, making his action moot. Then, the U.S. decided to concentrate its main effort against Germany mostly to aid the U.K., which might not have been able to hold out 2 or 3 years alone in the West against the Axis. Even with the Italian Navy & even if he were able to secure all the French navy, he likely could not have made a successful invasion of the U.K. – the naval numeric & qualitative inferiority was just too great. A good case can be made that, had the S.U. attack not been made, the Panther tank likely would not have been built. It was a reaction to the Soviet T-34 & KV-1. Without it, the Tiger could never have been built in sufficient numbers. It was more than 2X as costly as a Panther & nearly 3X the cost of the Mk. IV. 121. 121 Prashant Bist says: Luftwaffe should have been upgraded in those 2years because their major part of successful operation was in Spain France Poland but in major areal combat they lost like in operation sea lion supplying 6panzer in Stalingrad ,at drunkrik ,Crete Greece.towards Grozny and caucsius oilfields towards black sea.major failures .if we reconstruct war scenario then operationbabar bossa should have been launched in 1943/44.with every thing at place and 4army group plus krigsmarine in control of Leningrad so as to serve as a supply base for panzers fuel and extended airfields into Ukraine and • 121.1 Ronald Lameck says: You assume that the war was planned. It wasn't. Hitler spent most of its duration reacting to what someone else did. The "Battle of Britain" arose from U.K. refusal to consider his repeated peace offers. The D.A.K. was sent to bail out Italy from a full collapse in Africa. "Barbarossa", long his master plan & wish, was cobbled together as a blitzkrieg, hoping it might succeed in at least temporarily neutralising The S.U., which he hoped would compel the U.K. to sue for peace. 122. 122 Prashant Bist says: 2 army group for Leningrad and 2 for Moscow back to back launched from Ukraine would have taken half of such out of war leaving rest to drive towards south towards oilfeids cacusus Grozny Stalingrad obvious with help from turkey Ukrainian Romanian Cossacks it could have built 4 more army groups.USSR would have been knocked out and Stalin would be conning for peace.and Hitlers prophecy that world will hold its breath would have become true.that Franco of Spain was also a key to the equation with gibaralter under krigsmarine control and the mediterian route of Brit wowould have been out 123. 123 Prashant Bist says: By the way what was Italian navy doing it couldent even supply Rommel and his Africa corp • 123.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: The Regia Marina went to war on 10 June 1940 with the 4th-largest navy in the world: 6 battleships, 19 cruisers, 59 destroyers, 67 torpedo boats & 116 submarines. However, none had radar. The four newer battleships were being re-equipped. Many of the ships were obsolete. While Italian ships were generally well-designed, many of the cruisers were only poorly armoured. There was no proper naval air arm – two aircraft carriers were never completed. There was a general insufficiency of training, & a severe fuel shortage. Because of these two facts, operations were restricted by the high command. This sometimes led to the Italian fleet being ordered to avoid combat when it had a clear advantage. By contrast, Allied ships were allowed almost free rein. Despite the lack of radar, the navy had good range-finding & fire control ability. In battle, it fought bravely & well. What hurt it particularly was that its plan to seize the poorly-defended Malta archipelago at the start of the war was not approved by Italian Supreme Command. 124. 124 Prashant Bist says: What went wrong that Hitler and okw were not able to seal Europe from Britain and commonwealth this he should have been able to do before 1941.once the mediteranian secured and latest tanks like panther tiger and new aircraft like wolf packs and me262 sizeable no and bombers available then he should have gone for attack on ussr • 124.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: Barbarossa was meant to be over quickly, taking the S.U. out of the equation for the U.K., so that it would be more compelled to make a peace. Given the U.K./Commonwealth material & productive advantages & huge naval superiority, it is highly unlikely that Hitler could ever mount an effective invasion of the U.K. &, even if he did, the government could sail to Canada & continue from here if it wished to. The fuel shortage Germany always operated under was exacerbated by Italy joining the war, as it had even less supply than Germany, but the scope of potential battle fronts increased greatly. As noted elsewhere, had the S.U. not been attacked, the Panther may never have been built as, until meeting the T-34, the Nazis never fully realised how inadequate its armour was. 125. 125 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: I agree with Neil. I answer \ad-lib\ here, but I know somewhere in my library is a book quoting Hitler c. 1938 saying to Lord Halifax (former Viceroy of India & Foreign Secretary at the time) that the way Britain should deal with the National Congress was to \Shoot Gandhi.\ &, if that was not fully effective, to keep shooting until it was. Hitler's use for India & its people was solely for propaganda to make Britain look bad in relation to Germany. Thus the Indian Legion was created from Indian P.O.W.'s captured in N.Africa & Italy. It had a stylised tiger-head collar patch & a sleeve shield with a tiger leaping over the Indian national colours & \Freies Indien [Free India]\ above. 126. 126 Prashant Bist says: Intact work on logistics should have started in1938 itself 1year German interior just like autobahns 2year Poland 3 year France after its fall in1940 4 years danemark Norway as soon as the German army was sweeping the frontier in Poland.until final offensive in 1943/44 on USSR.what I mean to say railways trucks cars freight cars for heavy equipment of heer express shuttle for solders but instead die bahn used it for Jew transportation to ghetto death factory or labour camps so basically three modes of transportation one for Jews 2 for army transport 3 local German civilian 127. 127 Prashant Bist says: Freight cars for gasoline and oil should have special tracks .later there would have less problem of logistics from base of factory to front line.only gauge system of Ukraine and one from Leningrad would have to be changed .this time was also enough for Wehrmacht winter clothing and making sure who was ally or who was foe like in case of Spain Portugal turkey.enough time to assess Italian formation also • 127.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: You presume a sense of planning for war that never existed. Sort of like saying things would be different if they weren't the same. 128. 128 Prashant Bist says: Leningrad was under siege for 3 good years and then what happened to that proud field Marshal Goering he used to claim he could put out Brit by areal bombing alone .and this was a tiny dot on the map as compared to brit.I mean in three good years he was not able to carpet bomb the city and after Wehrmacht lost its grip all its officers and as which were either captured or left behind were found hanging on the poles • 128.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: Short of a nuclear weapon, no city or country has ever been put out of a war by bombing alone. It was a popular theory of the time, presented in a book written by the Italian Gen. Guilio Douhet, but was shown not to work. To make a truly devastating attack on Leningrad with bombers would require vastly more bombers the die Luftwaffe had. In part, this was due to its losses in the Battle of Britain; in part due to the lack of a 4-engine/strategic/long-range/heavy bomber. The Heinkel 177 was much delayed by trying to make it a dive bomber. 129. 129 Prashant Bist says: Transport plane like junker with upgraded version was also needed so as to carry troops munitions medicines winter clothing etc to the eastern front.history could have changed.us would have found it difficult to land in Europe because Brit was out and only three options left African landing could have taken time to create a base then either through USSR the eastern front or through aireal landing .as far as I know areal landing of that sort was not possible till the end of war.u see now Brit and us out France underoccupation only eastern front left.uUSSR to tackl e 130. 130 Prashant Bist says: Loss of graf spree at river plate was also useless.that also in Argentina.it should have been deployed at gibralter with Italian marines so as to severe the Brit and common wealth route of Mediterranean.u boats at French Portuguese ports for hit and run and basic navy to encircle Brit from Iceland to cut of Brit plus transport marine to be deployed at Leningrad munsmrk route for better connectivity and troop movement and freight like tanks winter clothing medicines ammunitions gun arm etc.for these three operations to go concurrently three admirals to be appointed 1logistics head to Leningrad front2 Brit front3meditetanian front 131. 131 Prashant Bist says: Armoury was insufficient like panzerfraust anti aircraft guns howitzers rocket launchers mines layers anti tank mines sea mines intact every dept be it air force navy or army.imagine German treasury wasted 2 trillion dollars for v2 research.if that money to be diverted to tank and aero production plus half to atomic the situation would have been different.Dora gun fired once or twice all wasted instead Krupp needed more tanks and planes for German Reich to stand against three foes.navy also lacked dreadnoughts battleships more u boats cruisers.so mismanagement of finances 132. 132 Prashant Bist says: The monetary estimate was1940 basis for v2 .v2 design was successful but not the accuracy and tatgetory plus distance traveled doubtful.I mean it could land from 200 to 700 km anywhere in between sheer waste of money in a fight for quick victory .plus war load was also of preliminary design no atomic part in it.this type of research work is done during peaceful time not in war years.Hitler could have either made it before the war or after the war not in squeezed time schedule and lack of resources and launch pads as was felt in1944.all type of mineral like iron steel aluminum uranium oil of different quality gold silver titanium copper zinc was in short supply 133. 133 Prashant Bist says: Hitler was left with two options either to take Brit with them on operation Barbarossa or first finish with mainland UK and cutting the Arabian sea route of medterarian and red sea then launching Barbarossa in1943/44 would have smashed Russia into two even if Russia was not defeated it would have come to terms with Nazi germany on Hitlers terms because with Brit out america wouldent have attacked mainland Europe as it was engaged in pacafic with Japan. 134. 134 Prashant Bist says: Ronald Hitler was right again in his advice to lord Halifax .Gandhi was to be killed by snipers just like in Stalingrad .that wasted opportunity coated Brit their empire.first India Pakistan Bangladesh Ceylon south Africa east Africa Australia .all in order and more copycats like nelson mMandela martin Luther king .he should have been nipped in bud before he became famous .mahatma met his maker by one called nathuram godse because he took Indian independence in form of treaty of versallies just like Hitler thought a fraud or sham to punish India by splitting into two countries and Muslim problems posed by Pakistan when mahatma was himself a hindu 135. 135 Prashant Bist says: Ronald By now you might have got the picture that Indian propaganda to Brit but if you put Pakistan south Africa east Africa Australia new Zealand Zimbabwe .the whole agricultural production was outsourced to these countries with this if you put low tech industriesl like textile was cconning from India Australia and total industrial production plus agricultural and minerals that made the difference. 136. 136 Prashant Bist says: Brit took at least 250 years to set up an empire of commonwealth and which they kept it for next 150 years .Hitler wanted to create his own in just 6 years so as to compete with Brit or Americans .Brit did it through negotiations treaty fight when required you know cunningness when required .not all at once.this little help conning from commonwealth countries and then later joined by us and Canada.it had be countered by German Reich in totality.a country like Zambia full of natural resources like copper bronze iron nickelbauxite nikwl diamond all precious metals .copper bronze iron would be useful to construct tanks aero planes cars trains .which Germans lacked.overall Hitler lacked planning at critical stage for overall stratagy 137. 137 Prashant Bist says: Little industrial production conning from insignificant countries like India Australia sa .I remember Enfield rifle gun and bike as well textile for winter and summer clothing from India jute for carry bags tobacco for Brit solders .I mean Brit solders were king and Wehrmacht underfed army.there lies the difference Hitler overlooked little economic countribution like Uganda in war effort.if he omitted India.one can get the map of Brit commonwealth before the start of war and areas under their indirect influence 138. 138 Prashant Bist says: Uptil now its sad but I would have to say Germans r not able to catch up with Brit check their london stock exchange listing on global index next only to new York and their pound.by the way Germans could have tried to due stabilize the economy by printing fake pounds and floating in Brit occupied territory if not in London to destabilize currency and banking system and hurt the trust of Brit pound in international market.it should have been done in1936 slowly by slowly just like injecting leathel injection to the Brit economy just before the start of operation sea lion in 1941 to show its true effect when their checks start to bounce and american don't honour pound as mode of payment.finally the currency was to be out if circulation 139. 139 Prashant Bist says: Let me tell you Ronald that list of London stock exchange at 2 position is because of Brit companies operating in their previous colonies.eg.t mobile of germany vs vodaphone of UK. U see no match.because of Voda share in previous Commonwealth countries plus Americas.so telling me that Hitler was just showing off Britain .I would tell you that its exact position was in Queens crown like kohinoor diamond in commonwealth.Indian legion and German support in Indian freedom movement would not have much effect Hitlers views about Brit India did not matter because he wasn't of direct use to Indian national movement but India's position in ww2 mattered.voda in no 1 and not Deutsche telecom or t mobile even after us market. So I have made my point clear. 140. 140 Prashant Bist says: Check Indian GDP and not PPP or per capita almost equivalent to German so gone r those days of westerndominance and britBrit GDP is a bit closer now you understand Indian importance in the equation lemrick .Hitler understood in 1938.that's why he advised lord Halifax to have Gandhi shot my dear friend. 141. 141 Prashant Bist says: And excuse me for my spelling because I am writing in a hurry 142. 142 Prashant Bist says: The port of Bombay was an important juncture in connection with Australia and. Newzealand to UK .so Hitler understood merchant trade of India but not you so by decorating Indian solders with tiger claws and free India legion was a sham to come close to India why Brit people want to write the history in their own way.if want to confirm an y British book and map of merchant trading check trade route and silk I mean textile route tea route spice route all pass from India.to tell the world that Indian position in world trade and benefit to UK as allies didn't benefit or bother Hitler was sham or Hitler didn't entertain sub ash Chandra Bose doe snt matter because when his navy and air force failed at operation sea loin and couldent cross black sea.it was clear except moral support Hitler couldent have offered much for Indian independence struggle 143. 143 Prashant Bist says: My only solace with Germany or Hitler was that there us a country defeated three times militarily is still competing with Brit and American nexus.they r world no one thugs america with its WTO economic tools the IMF world bank and military arm NATO can't harass developing world.who so ever doesn't cooperate with america or its policies becomes a rogue like north Korea Vietnam Iraq .financial muscle of new York stock exchange could be heard throughout the world because there fortune 500. At least of Barack Obama is considering some global action then German position as EU chairman becomes important.otherwise its a rump state all by itself.German economy will be surpassed just like Brit in conning 20years or so companies r listed on all the major stock exchanges us Brit combine has half of the companies so they r controlling the world which is not right .if nysc or Dow cw collapse its ripple on effect is heard throughout the world like right now they r doing for russia 144. 144 Prashant Bist says: Now look at the Indian takeover of tata took over jaguar land rover.Daimler India is also sold out to tata group.mittal steel of laxmi mittal bidder for Krupp the gun baron of Europe as well as arcelor french giantast India company the very company which once ruled India has been locked out.many India origin billionaires r spread out in Europe.French fries and German hamburger has maximum clients in India.sky TV of UK's has largest clentel in India which still makes India top priority for David Cameron for investment 145. 145 Prashant Bist says: Its was the accommodating nature of Indians that Brit empire lasted for 200 years in India but if they had employed Nazi tactics of racial subjugation or Jew deportation or other harsh measures of as and gestapo or esentruppen in India then Brit would have been knocked out in 50 years alone.because this they showed to Pakistan and Bangladesh that India can also be aggressive that's it reverted to proxy war on Kashmir.just imagine 10 lack Brit vs 3.5 million Indians even with low quality weapons who would have won. 146. 146 Prashant Bist says: Any way I might gave drifted from main point of what if Hitler won Moscow by whatever means or direction .but I was trying to introduce my point of thinking in this thread that how attack on Moscow should have been brought about and with what preparations and allies and area of operations and commonwealth and Indian position in the context before the start of the offensive. 147. 147 Prashant Bist says: As already discussed by previous debaters fall Moscow would have hit soviet economy a fatal punch 1 major communication army political hub central rail hub.north Russia would have been cut off and a major setback for the army plus logistical fiasco between north and south might have drastically reduced Russia's ability to continue war and psychological setback of more harder nature than Stalingrad.finally Russia would have surrendered or not is debate able in60 surrendered or negotiated peace or continuation from Urals or other major industrial pockets inside Russia.it all depended upon Stalin psychology.just like Hitler got broken after German loss at Kursk and German reversal in1943 by having health issues of epilepsy and insomnia forget fullness and his reliance upon drugs 148. 148 Prashant Bist says: Major factor would have been allied help after fall Moscow in1941 would they be able to supply Russia with us equipment and Stalin psychological health plus army control would have decided the outcome of the war 149. 149 Prashant Bist says: Indian contribution can be estimated from the fact that Japanese motorbike companies have made enough money for 10 Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Indian market alone since last 60 years .leave alone other industries.that's Indian contribution to Japanese economy .if Indian coffee was not made available to Churchill during war years .then he wouldent have found solution to German problem in cold London weather Just do the math jap bikes *60 years 150. 150 Prashant Bist says: Ronald I was right.u see.american Brit espionage ring.this is an american platform .and that's how america conducts its search .the report will be titled German reaction to ww2 and Hitler.that will be reported to pentagon.that's why I said encrypted language.because platform used r Google and yahoo.pentagon decides through these types of surveys that weather the country is with them or against them.its government machinery will either putup some pinching topic for national survey or some rrelevant issues which favour american or Brit government • 150.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: Please do not address your submissions to me. I already indicated at 120.1 that you have drifted VERY far off of the topic of this forum. You raise a lot of stuff that I have no interest in debating. It would be circular. I don't even bother to read them. I have a life to live,& am not making any money be being your "ear" or by rebutting your numerous factual errors. Please find another to fill this role if that is what you need. 151. 151 Prashant Bist says: Thanks Ronald Final answer I will give u in German because it has become India's third language of national importance.another great Indian contribution to German cause.thus closing this great debate from my side.and once again thanks to all you people out there for bearing wide me for so long.guten tag The final answer • 151.1 Ronald Lameck says: Prashant: It seems I wrote a bit prematurely. Turns out doctors want to put me in hospital & rip the valve out of my heart & replace it. This will leave me out of work for a few months. I will have a lot of time just sitting around so, if you would like, I CAN give you my views on the issues you raise, even though few deal with the topic of this forum. Be advised that my replies may come in its – I can't make huge submissions such as you have made – but I will try to address all points. If you remain interested, let me know, & I will try to start on this fairly soon. 152. 152 Bruce says: Ronald: In following what you say here – that is only looking at the hands available to be played in terms of forces at given times – I believe that the best opportunity for German victory in Europe (including defeating the SU back to the Urals) was through the implementation of the Mediterranean strategy back in latter half of 1940, as was pushed strongly by the head of the German Navy. This issue is covered well by Bevin Alexander's book (How Hitler Could have Won WWII). After the fall of France and start of Battle of Britain, some members of the German military saw that a way to defeat Britain was not through a frontal assault like Sea Lion (very risky even if air superiority were achieved), but by defeating the British in the Mediterranean. The basics of the strategy, which again were debated at the time and pushed strongly by some in the high command (but ignored by Hitler) were: 1) In fall of 1940, Britain only had a small force in Egypt that Germany & Italy (with Germans in command) could have easily taken with a few Panzer divisions (Germany had about 20 at the time and not in use, other than in waiting for Barbarossa). Rommel almost beat the Brits later with one Panzer division (with a light motorized division) + Italian remnants, so with say 4 or 5 divisions could have won quickly. 2) This gives Germany control over the Suez Canal, blocking British access to the east Med. From there comes the Middle East, which had no appreciable Allied forces at the time, and Britain wouldn't have been able to get any there in time & had lost much of their equipment at Dunkirk. The Axis could easily take Syria, Iran, Palestine, and Arabia with those 4/5 Panzer divisions – giving them control over the largest oil supplies in the world, while subsequently denying them to Britain. One of Germany's key limitations would have been removed – access to oil – all by early 1941. 3) With North East Africa under Axis control, and no Allied access in east Med. via Suez, the Axis could take control of North/West Africa (the French colonies) easily as well – little forces there and Hitler could have pressured the Vichy gov't to accept it with little conflict. From Morocco comes access to south side of Gibraltar, and thus ability with airforce and guns to make British access to the Med. very difficult, if not impossible. The Mediterranean comes under full Axis control. This Axis occupation can extend to Senegal and the Dakar naval base on the Atlantic. This greatly secures the \southern belly\ of the Axis against any Allied attack. Also allows German U-Boats & Luftwaffe a base to operate against British convoys to Asia which now have to go via the south Atlantic. 4) With the conquest of the Middle East, the Axis are now in a prime spot to attack into the Soviet Union oil fields of the Caucasus directly via Turkey, rather than requiring a much longer & highly contested route from Germany. This also prevents the (future) flow of goods from Britain/USA to USSR via Iran, although this might not have been considered in the discussions of the time. 5) With Germany in Iran & on the door of (then) India, Britain would have to expend manpower/material to this defend this, and would have less to use against Germany on the continent. India was considered the crown jewel of the empire at the time, and they would go to great lengths to defend it. 6) Germany has the time now to wait another year before attacking USSR (in 1942). Stalin would not consider attacking into Germany with the Caucasus so exposed. Another year to grow the forces for such an assault, getting closer to the war footing that was considered optimal for such an attack (1943). Of course that works both ways and the USSR also has another year of industry and rebuilding army. This was a path that Germany easily could have taken as they had the armed forces to win easily with few losses. It would have strategically altered the war. This isn't \science fiction\ alternate history, as this was a strategy pushed very strongly by a few in German high command to Hitler (Admiral Raeder of Navy, and endorsed by Jodl of OKH). The British saw the threat very clearly, and devoted every resource they could to pushing back on Italians and later Rommel. But Hitler wasn't a strategic thinker, even when it was spelled out to him, and many in the OKH only pandered to what he wanted. The odds of beating the USSR certainly improved here with the ability to take the Caucasus (and potentially Stalingrad) very early in a campaign, denying Stalin the oil and industry of that region, while the North/Central groups went for Leningrad and Moscow & destroying armies as per before. However, a good debate can still be had regarding the outcome over time. Even if Stalin was pushed back across the Urals, would he have been successful in re-establishing the industry to mount sufficient counter offensives? It is a vast country there. Would the Urals provide a defence at all in the 20th Century? Or would this war go on for years without a clear winner? • 152.1 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce: 1. Britain had few troops in N.E. Africa because it kept what it had close to home expecting the Nazi invasion. It could have gathered troops from Australia/New Zealand, S. Africa & India upon evidence of a major Axis troop landing in the area. It could also have stripped some of U.K. troops, as that Axis act would suggest the invasion was either delayed, reduced in size or cancelled. In fall 1940, the Nazis didn't HAVE 20 armoured divisions. Rather, they were reorganising the armoured arm. They reduced the tanks in each division from 4 battalions to only 2. The units were training & arming – often with captured French tanks. You seem to not realise the large logistical problems of moving a force 3 to 4 times larger than the Afrika Korps would have been. A lot of ships, a lot of time. The R.N. would not sit on its hands as this occurred. It would attack from both Alexandria & Malta, & would likely move other large ships into the Med. as well. The Kriegsmarine could not to prevent this, & could not move any of its surface ships through the Strait of Gibraltar, The Italian navy, besides lacking radar, would be outnumbered & outgunned. You also overstate Rommel's achievement against British Eighth Army. He was like a football quarterback who moved his team down the the enemy 10-yard line, but couldn't move any further & lacked even the ability to kick a field goal. The longer D.A.K. tarried in Egypt, the more certain its ultimate annihilation became. He was sent there to be a defensive force, but he & the German & Italian commands got delusions of grandeur from his tactical successes. To actually crack the Egyptian egg would have taken more effort than the Axis could bring to bear. – More later. Too busy. • 152.2 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce: 2. Even assuming the Axis was to seize Cairo & Alexandria & gain control of the Suez Canal, that would not automatically give it hegemony in the eastern Med. You neglect Malta. which was a painful thorn to the Axis. Logic would dictate that, if the Axis was serious about action in N. Africa, especially involving large numbers of troops & equipment in offensives that would extend for hundreds of Km., then this thorn had to be plucked. The never-engaged Axis Operation Herkules was based off of Italian studies & plans begun as early as 1938, & COULD have been employed as early as summer 1940. The huge Me-321 /323 Gigant glider /transport aircraft would not have been available until at least May 1941. Still, the Malta garrison then was only about 4,000 strong & the German & Italian parachute troops alone would have been adequate to seize the islands. As soon as possible, the Italian Navy would have to move capital ships there to hold the island against British counter-attack. THAT would secure the central Med. for the Axis, but would make the area the centre of most of the war's action. The R.N. would strike from both east & west with all the force it could muster. In the last half of 1940, that would be almost the full strength of the R.N. – Scharnhost & Gneisenau, then the only German capital ships were both laid up for repairs. It is questionable whether the Italian Navy could prevail, although the R.N. might suffer losses equal or greater than those it historically had in the Crete battle in May 1941. Overall, I seriously doubt that the Axis would ever be able to secure Egypt or points further east. • 152.3 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce: Continuing on your Point 2: Even if the Axis was able to capture Cairo & Alexandria, the R.N. ships there could either "run the gauntlet" past an Axis Malta – probably with support from Gibraltar. Or, they might just sail down the Suez Canal to any of several friendly ports. The question to ask is – would this eastward Axis push in N.E. Africa help to retain the Italian E. African colonies, or would it hasten the U.K. attack to seize them? Clearly, the situation for the Axis would not be at all so simple as you seem to think. Success would be very much in doubt. • 152.4 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce: Further on your point 2: R.N. ships in Alexandria could escape down the Suez Canal long before Axis forces could reach it, or could stay in port & provide withering artillery support for U.K. troops & then sail past Malta – likely with assistance from Gibraltar-based R.N. For the Italian Navy to contest this would be a near-Jutland battle which would likely see the Italian fleet destroyed, despite the general air superiority the Axis could mount. Either way, the R.N. could move U.K. troops into the "Middle East" from Australia/New Zealand or India to foil Axis notions. (e.g.; 4th & 5th Indian divisions, which historically captured Italian East Africa). Take a look at the immense distances involved, at how tenuous the supply line would be, & how easily it could be disrupted. The U.K. was aware of the importance of oil to the Axis, & would do all possible to prevent the Axis from gaining it. Meanwhile, the U.K. could draw its supply from N. America. • 152.5 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce 4. It is not rational to think neutral Turkey would just allow the Axis to transit through its territory to attack the S.U. It is also not rational to think that a predominately armoured group could successfully attack through the Caucasus Mts. That is very rugged terrain, easily defended. Because there was no attack on any other part of the S.U., it could deploy its finest troops in the area, & the Red Air Force would not suffer the grievous losses it did historically. Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe would be hard-pressed to create adequate bases or supply, or to have a large number of 1st-line aircraft. Such an approach could find itself surrounded by the S.U. counter-attacking from the north as Allied forces could attack from the south. A sticky situation at best. • 152.6 Ronald Lameck says: Bruce: 5. Again, you would drag Germany into areas where it never expressed any interest at all. Invade India? Why? How long would it take to subdue a nation of hundreds of millions, how many troops to occupy? How does that help the Axis deficit of oil & minerals? How does that help in defeating the S.U., which was the true ideological enemy. The Indian Army began WWII about 200,000 strong. By August 1945, the all-volunteer force was 2.5 million. The likelihood of an Axis attack at India would have to be ranked as profoundly remote &, were it to occur, could be ably resisted. But India was much more an interest of Japan, which actually made a small invasion of India in 1944. . 6. Yes, the S.U. has another year to mobilise & build equipment, while the Axis would be dissipating its strength chasing off to distant lands for dubious success & gains that would do little, if anything, to for the U.K. to quite the war. Overall, this strategy is far more hare-brained than any thing Hitler did. In my view, this would have resulted in a war that ended far sooner with far less real danger to the Allied/S.U. causes. 153. 153 Prashant Bist says: Re 125/150.1 Final submission Ronald 'Hitlers minister for economics hijmar schacht would be baffled at these figures.lmagine low cost jap bike Indian std. 2500$*60*1.2 billion/4 avg.family unit=1500000*.3billionpeoples=45000billion which is 45trillion dollars direct contribution to japanese
economy .just one industry.that's the Indian
contribution.lemrick this is no factual error .just telling u Indian importance in world trade.hHitler knew it in1938 so don't tell me about Indian propaganda by hitler.India or bharat was like a kohinoor in queens croqn with Pakistan Bangladesh combined.45 trillion dollars from bikes sales alone good enough to build 10 Hiroshima and Nagasaki.that's was my point.

154. 154
Prashant Bist says:

Bruce
Understood my point very clearly that mediteranian route was to be put out by 1941.kreigsmarine to be permanently headquartered at gibralter wide the help of Italian navy.so as to severe the route of saudi Arab Iran India Pakistan Bangladesh Ceylon Australia new Zealand and east Africa.this I previously tried to highlight in point 130 .this would have crippled Brit maritime trade and oil supply route as well as route to soviet Russia.but my suggestion lemric couldnt buy.

155. 155
Prashant Bist says:

Sorry
Ronald lemrick
I did not know u were ailing with heart problem.even if I made some factual errors in this great historic epic.please forgive me.because my point of view was from commonwealth side but u as an old man wid experiance can throw some light a more European view.and may u recover soon.well wishes

156. 156
Prashant Bist says:

U see lemric I have whole German map lying in front of my table.I have detailed map of Munich karhurse kologn Frankfurt munchengladbach Leeds Paris London lying in front of me.my dad went on a European industrial toure that is textile Indian route.so please tell me which city r u from

157. 157
Prashant Bist says:

I also forgot to tell u that he also passed through Zurich u know wollen textile line because it all passes through europe because its got a cold weather out there.that's why my interest in German history and culture.mein gott

158. 158
Ronald Lameck says:

Bruce:

3. I doubt Vichy would cede a free-hand in its African possessions to the Axis so soon after consenting to surrender. Remember: Churchill counselled the French to fight on, & DeGaulle & some others were eager to. Vichy still had a large navy – as big as the German & Italian fleets combined. In fact, the acrimony over the R.N. attack on the French ships at Oran would dissipate, as the U.K. fear that spawned it would be proved.
But even if Algeria & Morocco were occupied, to meaningfully get at Gibraltar would require crossing Spanish Morocco. Spain officially declared neutrality on 12 June 1940. After the bloody civil war, its military & economy were in no condition to be belligerent. That's why Spain wanted Gibraltar, the Canary Islands & Morocco IN ADVANCE as conditions to join the war on the Axis side.
Your ideas would draw Germany into Italian interests that were not Hitler's. He wanted to re-create the old Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne & Otto der Grosse & expand it to occupy the Heartland of Mackinder';s theory. He would make the Slavs into what had been made of the N. American Indians & black slaves. He didn't want war with the U.K. at all. Given his empire, he'd have been happy. His target area was on his \door step.\ He had no interest in Africa or Asia.

159. 159
Ronald Lameck says:

Bruce:

4. It is highly unlikely that neutral Turkey would allow the Axis to transit its territory to attack the S.U. There would be little, if anything, for it to gain by doing so, but much to lose within the world community. For the Axis, the very long, very tenuous supply line would be a constant worry.
To maintain the line would mean reliance upon the Italian Navy & Italian shipping. I doubt they would be up to the task – especially as the U.K. could constantly harass. Not a plan I'd want to be part of.
The German concentration in this area would suggest little or no involvement by Finland, no seizure of the Petsamo nickel mines & hence a huge in steel-manufacturing for the Axis. Thus, a severe reduction in war production.
The S.U., not being stressed on any other front, could move its best troops & equipment to this one area. The Caucasus is very rough terrain, hard to move quickly through but easily defended. It would be a WWI-style slogging match the whole way, even assuming the supply line could be kept open – which I doubt..

160. 160
Prashant Bist says:

What was the thought of chamberlain and Churchill of great Britain's history of the world looting campaign though not officially declared policy which be gain after the 1650 when they became perfectionist at the art of ship manufacture and had a well established navy later intensified with the advent of industrial revolution.infact they tried to expand in every direction.if we look at the Brit commonwealth map they tried to expand in every direction except the areas where they met their match like 17 century spain 18 century France 19 century Germany.it was all okey for brit but when Hitler tried to do the same he became an outlaw .there was a saying that sun never sets in Brit empire and it was true by 1820 until the event of ww1 later followed by ww2 .a time span of100 years .this was the unofficial policy of great Britain expansion through conquest by use of technology ships guns etc .that's how they erected their empire and at one time they had 1/4 of us.east coast.but I mean Hitler had all the right to expand German boader as long as he was not interfering with Brit empire a superior force at the time.because that's how all other powers did like Spain France.Brit politicians were jealous of Germans and did not want them to grow.its was dubious diplomacy of Brit empire.

161. 161
Prashant Bist says:

Thanks to 15 century Portugal 16/17century spain until the loss of spanish armada at battle of river nile under lord nelson,18 century France and 19 century Germany.europe did not become British dominion otherwise they would have taken that also .I mean they were trying to do it like combining with Spain to knock out France and then combining with France to subdue Germans under Bismarck .the first iron chancellor.

162. 162
Ronald Lameck says:

the war was not planned. It came about because the U.K. did not renege on its demented \guarantee\ to Poland despite the creation of the Nazi-S.U. Non-Aggression Pact. The Pact made Poland's utter demise a certainty.
Hitler expected the U.K. to take the reasonable course & sue for peace after its army was routed at Dunquerque & France surrendered. He did not expect Italy to join when it did. He thought he had an agreement with Mussolini that Italy would remain neutral until 1942. He hoped/expected to be able to force the collapse or surrender of the S.U. by a blitzkrieg.
Germany never had anything near the naval capacity to invade the U.K, in the face of the Royal Navy, & was unable to secure air superiority, as U.K./Commonwealth production was equal to German production. With the aid of U.S. \Lend-Lease\, it became impossible.
The Tiger & Panther tanks were both incomplete general designs in 1939, & neither really began development until after Barbarossa was underway & the inferiority of extant German tanks to S.U. ones – especially the T-34 became apparent.
Finally, there is considerable evidence that Hitler believed the S.U. was planning to invade eastern Europe as early as July 1941 or into 1942. His belief is supported by the fact that S.U. forces encountered were aligned in an offensive stance. Barbarossa was thus a pre-emptive strike. This is still a point of great controversy among historians.

163. 163
Prashant Bist says:

Brit mentality is easily portrayed by 007 the world is not enough.I mean bond James bond.

164. 164
Christopher says:

Is anyone aware that Hitler wanted the war to start in 1942 but was forced to start it in 1939 because of parkinsons?

It was the jews in Vienna who encouraged Hitler to go into politics

By the way how does one get a question onto this site?

• 164.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Christopher:

Hitler did NOT "the war to start" in 1939 for any reason. Since 1934, he had a non-aggression pact with Poland. The "3 Colonels" junta that ruled Poland were ideologically closest to the Nazis of any government in Europe – more even that Italy. He sincerely wanted what he said he wanted from Poland – return of the Danzig district to full German authority & control, with a double rail line & an autobahn across the "Polish Corridor" to have direct access to Danzig.
He had no great respect for Poles but realised that, if he could make them his ally, they would add a military of better value than any other Axis nation – more armour than the U.S. Army had at the time, superior, well-trained cavalry, & about 60 infantry divisions. With this force in the Order of Battle & a launch line that was 350 to 500 Km. further east, S.U. chances would be greatly reduced.
Hitler did not expect Poland to be so intransigent, but the Chamberlain "guarantee" shut that door. So he took the next-best option, the Pact with the S.U.
His statement to Carl Burckhardt, League of Nations High Commissioner for Danzig should be taken at face value – for that is precisely what he did do.

The hypothesis that Hitler had Parkinson's Disease is rife with rampant . speculation, but no report of it in his D.N.A. has ever been indicated.
Even if he DID have it, which is much subject to doubt, I think I have shown that it did not affect his strategic thinking in 1939-41.

165. 165
John says:

Ronald, of course you have read it the book \The Ice breaker\, did you? What do you think about this theory? I think that it is almost the undescovered truth.

• 165.1
Ronald Lameck says:

John: I have not read the book (can't find it). I'm aware of its claims, & some of the criticisms of the claims. Chief being: there are no cited sources for the information presented.
I first heard of this claim in the mid-1960's when reading of Gen. Vlasov & his ordeal. Allegedly, when captured by the Nazis, he claimed Stalin had planned to make a general invasion of eastern Europe in 1942.
"Ice Breaker" seems quite similar. I have some reservation about wholeheartedly accepting the claim because this was a major undertaking, but was to be done relatively soon after Stalin's officer corps purges. The dismal performance of the Red Army in the Winter War should have dampened enthusiasm for such an invasion.
Still, Stalin would have been aware of Hitler's loathing of the S.U. & at least the gist of Nazi plans for it. He would have known that the 1939 Non-Aggression Pact was really all about getting room for the Nazi armour to maneuver. His delusions of grandeur were at least as large as Hitler's.
Stalin must have been exultant that Churchill opted to throw his hand in on the S.U. side, as this meant he could ultimately prevail if he could just hold on long enough for Allied supplies & the 2d front to make a difference.
Had Churchill allied to the Nazis, or even just made peace with them, the S.U. would have been doomed.
Every government makes contingency plans for all possibilities, & it is possible that this may have only been one of these. But it shows both Stalin & Hitler knew that, sooner or later, there would be a Clash of the Titans. If this plan did actually exist, I doubt that concrete proof about it will ever be established. The S.U. was always secretive & this plan would be one of the very first things the collapsing regime would want to obliterate all trace of. All told, it is too bad for humanity – especially for those in eastern Europe – that Churchill backed the wrong side.

166. 166

[...] Operation Taifun (Typhoon), which was launched by the German armies on October 2, 1941, as a prelude to taking Moscow, is halted because of freezing temperatures and lack of serviceable aircraft. [...]

167. 167
Prashant Bist says:

I have a very good book named Andy rand capitalism the unknown ideal.c1962 by Alan Greenspan.as Hitler predicted american and Brit capitalism plus Lenin /Stalins bolvekhism will take over Germany.this book talks about american capitalism ,big business,roots of war effect of industrial revolution on women. Child tens fascism
Etc all covered with in depth knowledge. All from my dads library
It also has references to ww2 and hitler

168. 168
Prashant Bist says:

Re133/165.1
This brings us to the same point as I said in 133
Either he should have taken Brit with them on operation bar bossa or first finish with main land UK and severing Brit medeterarian route of merchant trade even if it meant fighting for Italian interest and not of Hitlers.best example is of a dragon in the form of its head which oogles fire as uk and basic body in form of commonwealth.that deadly fire is oogled in Europe.

169. 169
Prashant Bist says:

Medeteranian route was the neck of the dragon.
Re:164/165.1
UK wouldent have stayed neutral as rival power from being underdog to became a world conquer in the neighbourhood to seriously challenge their status as world power.according to me the only way out was to cease hostilities with UK after the capture of France and enticing them on to join in operation barbrossa with promise of bigger gains than of Poland in soviet russia of land.this hitler could have done preacefully by doing the panzer and whermacht build up in france and germamy and deanmark at the same.time uk to do royal navy airforce buildup in uk .as peace treaty was in force on polish border with soviet Russia.soviets wouldent even have had the slightest clue of Nazi Germany was up to.then launching the attack in1943/44.the exact time.Soviet Russia wouldent have done the present emptive attack .if Nazis had 600 diva ready to take position inpoland.

170. 170
Prashant Bist says:

Hitler wouldent have sent Rudolf Hess on a solo planejourney to UK.I mean the a delegation of OKw and finance ministry officiallyto do a complete techno logistical and commercial feasibility study of the invasion plan of operation barbossa

171. 171
Prashant Bist says:

Main problem was Hitler in his grandeur refused to accept advice even if the OKw high command was telling him the truth and showing him the reality.there t numerous of occasions where it can be seen that he kept the name of werewolf but refused to accept its qualities like .they hunt in a group and r cunning.not like rigid Hitler with fixed ideas .in a group a wolf or fox can even scare a lion.

172. 172
Prashant Bist says:

Those 600 divisions to be spread out in Europe in different countries and then later joined in by Brit and Italian would have wreaked a havock upon soviet planned invasion during 1942.and also seeing Brit on German side wouldent have had launched a present emotive strike.

173. 173
Prashant Bist says:

I also have map of stuttgard Bavaria .I see so many Eiffel platz in many German cities like koln Munich .I would like to ask as if Hitler planned to built Eiffel tower in Germany as it was true that he planned to built Eiffel towers after going with chief architect Albert speers to paris with chief engineer ferdininand Porsche of the Reich.could anyone throw some light on this .

• 173.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Prashant:

1. Stuttgart is NOT in Bavaria. It is further west & is the capital city of Baden-Wurttemburg.

2. I am unaware of any Eiffelplatz in Munich.

3. Gustave Eiffel, who built the tower, was born with the last name Boenickhausen [means (sort of), a trading house.] He changed it to Eiffel, a regional dialectic spelling of Eifel [egg rock - meaning it is a very old formation]. It is a region of hills & rough terrain that still has some occasional volcanic activity. It is in western Germany & eastern Belgium between Aachen & Trier. It is where the Dec. 1944 2nd Battle of the Ardennes ("Battle of the Bulge" to U.S. historians) was fought.

4. I am unaware of any plan or even desire by Hitler to re-create an Eiffel Tower in Germany.

174. 174
Prashant Bist says:

The same with the word gasse in so many German cities .gasse means road to gas chambers or what because in Munich there was Dachau concentration camp.in Munich my dad also went to deutsches museum hall of flight.long live Germany.seig hail.

• 174.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Prashant:
"ein Gasse" is an alley, lane or very narrow street that has room only for pedestrians.
Dachau is a town (now about 45,000) more than 1200 years old that is about 20 Km. north-west of Munich. Now a "bedroom community" for the city, for many years it was largely populated by artists & authors. The camp was built from an old munitions factory a few Km. southeast of the town.

175. 175
Glaar says:

The Soviets had early warning of the attack by both direct recce, the Swiss and Japanese cabals (German military and diplomatic communities turning traitor) and a couple of serious blunders on the part of the Germans.
Having said that, the Germans fought brilliantly on a frontage that stretched from the Baltic to the Black Seas and were successful in rolling up HUGE Soviet Formations using the very Deep Attack doctrines which they had trained with them on, less than a decade before.
That those formations were in place in fact highlights the fact that the Soviets themselves were intending an all out offensive within as little as six days of the German attack.
Divisions 128 174 1 : 1.4
Personnel 3,459 3,289 1.1 : 1
Guns and mortars 35,928 59,787 1 : 1.7
Tanks 3,769 15,687 1 : 4.2
Aircraft 3,425 10, 743 1 : 3.1
The Germans attacked Russia because the Russians were massing for a move of their own. Hitler knew this, as early as 1939.
The Germans defeated the Russians at the Pripyet Marshes. At Dubno and the Pinsk Marshes and Kiev. They failed to overrun Leningrad, only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking he did not need to secure a logistics port and rail system to supply the Mosocow offensive when the panic over Smolensk and an unsecured flank drove the Wehrmacht to shift emphasis from deep attack to stabilization of fronts.
In this, it must also be remembered that the Heer sat outside Moscow for the better part of two months, within a 120km operational striking distance for a direct attack (to that time the Germans had used operational bypass and envelopment to destroy Soviet command and control as logistics access to troops who _did not_ fight doggedly without leadership but in fact surrendered in such droves as created 50 mile long columns of POWs).
They did this, solely because Hitler's Order 33 amounted to a FEAR of doing the very thing he stated was essential knocking out the Soviet strategic leadership.
And here is where things get interesting. Because what doomed the German assault was pure numbers. When the Soviets defeated the Japanese in the Far East, they concluded a separate peace which let them begin to move formations West. What was not known was how large those formations would become.
Once the (ethnic) Russians were defeated.
Russia did not number 100 or even 120 million as the German prewar estimates, drawn from Communist propaganda, operated from. They numbered closer to 200 million. And the people behind Stalin were willing to lose half of them in enticing and then diffusing the wide-front German attacks necessary to engage them all.
With this as a given, the number of Asiatic troops coming from the East in fully equipped (it was they who had the T-34s and KV-1s, the Russians themselves still largely had the T-26) formations meant that _it didn't matter_ how many ethnic Russ died. Only how many Germans they took with them. And losses that the Soviets took that summer included virtually all of the 400-600,000 troops captured in Kiev and Smolensk. The Germans had simply no food for them and often shot them within hours of their surrender.
But the converse also applies. If you have fewer people to feed thanks to the brutal meatgrinder tactics being used in expectation of fresh units arriving to engage the German forces, you have more resources to go around overall.
Even this was not entirely the case because the Germans displaced millions when the winter came and they commandeered homes and/or forced quartering of German troops.
Just as Model used those Russian POWs who did survive to start digging fortification lines and shelters, even as Typhoon began to get underway.
It's only when you begin to peel away the true statistics behind the German claims of 10-12 and even 15:1 attrition of Soviet forces (which were accurate, as Stalin's ordered destruction of casualty reports indicates) and specifically to look at things like the percentages of ethnicities in certain previously 'reserved for Great Russian' social roles by Asiatic people who began to showing up in the Russian economy, after the war, that you start to see the real enormity of what happened in Russia.
As I said, between 75 and 100 million Russians died in that war, most in the first 2 winters.
Not 25.
Seventy Five.
The final indicator of this is the fact that Russian population statistics did not once more pass 200 million until 1991, just before the breakup of the Soviet Union.
With the premise of your supposition uncertain, the other question to deal with is obvious: What could the Germans have done, before or after the failure of Typhoon, to hasten the debilitation of the Soviet population and thus inhibit the war effort.
And the simple answer lies in those self-same 'roads are muddy ruins' in the spring and fall Quagmire Seasons (Rasputitsa: Season Of Mud).
Anything which had to move more than 50nm in Russia for much of the 20th century did so by rail because road networks simply did not exist. Railroads are indefensible because they are axially vulnerable across a six inch span of rail that is impossible to hide or defend across their enormous lengths.
A man with a single stick of dynamite and a remote or time pencil fuse can destroy not just the bed, sleepers and rails but _any train which is passing over them_ using standardized rail-schedule separations for time and number of cars.
As late as the summer of 1944, had the Germans engaged in an active UCW campaign to sabotage the traffic from places like Chelyabinsk, in combination with intelligent maneuver warfare strategies of local counterattack and small armored formation rear area thrusts, the Soviets would have been hard pressed to sustain the tempo of Bagration and might well have chosen to no longer be the Allied slaughter dawgs in occupying the German Wehrmacht for the critical three months after D-Day before Caen, Mortain and Fallaise.
In 1941, with the Soviets in near total disarray, such bombing + commando operations from Moscow east to the Urals would have made the westward progression of Far Eastern TVD forces moving out of the Manchurian TMA impossible.
And both sides, exhausted and without supplies would have settled into siege warfare.
In which it is actually fairly easy to hold out through the most extreme weather conditions (explosives, hole, concrete, body heat, woodgas/coal stove) as indeed the Germans had proven to be quite masterful at doing in with their vastly superior trench fortifications in WWI.
The key is to deny the enemy those fresh fielded maneuver forces with which to force the combat that makes you come up out of your hole in summer uniforms.
Unfortunately, Hitler, ever the ADD strategic novice following \Evil Villain Rule #32\ (when first an approach does not succeed, it can never be refined and improved to win through the second time, a brand new Master Plan must instead by created that is totally different making no use of existing resources or position) refused to finish the fight he began in 1941, in 1942.
Instead pushing for the Crimean oil. Which is a really stupid thing to do through Europes third tallest mountain range, using armor.
And by the time the gist of Himmler's 1943 Posnan speech (in which he outlined the efforts to research the true size of the Soviet population, based on pre-1917 extrapolations of Czarist census data) began to filter through the Wehrmacht ranks, morale was bad enough that 'mid-summer, 1944' led to another disaster for German wartime unity, on July 20th.

CONCLUSION:
_Do not assume_ that the losses of winter 1941 were not horrific for the Russians. The legends of mass cannibalism coming out of Leningrad alone should tell you so. The difference is that, in terms of effecting the war effort, you can't die again if you were already shot, bombed, artilleried or shipped off to the Reich for slave labor and later disposal.
But your death, statistically virtual or otherwise, can effect the survivability of the remaining population.
And Russia did not win her battles with the Germans. She lost her last chance, as an ethnic nation state, outside Bryansk and Vyazma. Asiatic Soviets won the war.
When little known facts like this start to poke their skeletal fingers through the propaganda fertilized soil of WWII history as it is now presented: as a secular triumph of modern Westernism, then and only then will we begin to understand what actually happened and where it points us towards, today.

176. 176
Christopher says:

One item I noticed is missing….alot of the russian deaths occurred because of the no retreat order

The russian soldier had two choices:

attack the germans and die or get killed by russians if they retreated

Another thing was if a russian escaped from a POW camp and reached russia……..he was shot on the belief that he was a german agent or spy.

Lastly in the movie showing stalin addressing the troops in moscow you can see their breaths as they were outside but you cannot see stalin's breath because he was inside speaking

• 176.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Christopher: Indeed. During the war, the S.U. executed at least 158,000 "deserters." That is more than all the men of 12 Mechanised Corps. There would surely have been more in the immeidate post-war years, but no data seems to exist.
The great problem with using S.U.data is, as Marvin Gaye succinctly put it in "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" – believe none of what you hear & half of what you see.

177. 177
Prashant Bist says:

Re173
There is Eifel platz next to volksgarten in koln on Rhein.Hitler after his Paris toure of Eiffel tower with Albert Speer's praised about the cities architecture and said to Albert Speer's standing on that same Eiffel tower in Paris that this type of structure we r going to have in Germany.this he did after fall France in 1940 after signing the armstic with France on the same train in which treaty of versallies was signed.

• 177.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Prashant:
It is no surprise & there is no great meaning to be sought from an Eifelplatz in Koeln. It is Germany's 4th-largest city & only about 60 Km. from die Eifel. I live in Calgary, Canada's 4th-largest city, about 100 Km. from the Rocky Mtns. There are at least 50 businesses or places here named Rocky Mountain this or Rocky Mountain that.
If you have ever been to Germany, you will know it has a huge amount of spectacular architecture of its own.

178. 178
Prashant Bist says:

In Paris there is Stalingrad metro station.sebastapol Kremlin Yuri Gagarin street the first Russian cosmonot what r they doing in French capital.Russianand French weren't that friendly.and sorry
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and do have ator beer in gemutlichkeit in Munich.

• 178.1
Ronald Lameck says:

Prashant:

I can't speak for Paris – never been there. It WAS a hotbed of communist supporters in the first half of the 20th C. A great many Russian emigres moved there after the collapse of the Tsarist Empire. Maybe they think Stalingrad was a "great human struggle against oppression" (if so, they swallowed the Soviet propaganda hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, boat & fisherman.) Sevastopol – related to the Crimean War? Kremlin – you've got me? Gagarin – recognition of a deed for the good of mankind.
E.g.; Duesseldorf,Germany has a Kennedydamm [Kennedy Path], named for the route J.F. Kennedy took when he visited the city in 1963 prior to his famous speech in Berlin.

179. 179
Prashant Bist says:

Do watch enemy at the gates German often five on Stalingrad.that's why I asked what is it doing in French capital.

180. 180
Prashant Bist says:

Also do watch a view to a kill max zorin Nazi brain child employed by soviet KGB and his plans to wreck havock in american silicon valley .only to be saved by bond 007 mi5 secret agent.I like Nazi brain. Also has reference to Zeppelin the first German airship

181. 181
Ronald Lameck says:

Prashant:

1. Whether the invasion was organised as 3 or 4 army groups is not significant.

2. To send 4 groups at Leningrad & Moscow from the south of the front would present several problems that would all but guarantee failure.
a. To attack Leningrad from so far south would greatly extend the
distance needed to reach it, giving the S.U. time to form a blocking
position.
b. This would entail attack northeast through the heart of the huge
Pripet Marsh, which would be difficult & easily disrupted.
c. It would be easy to make devastating attacks on the flank of the
whole offensive
d. There were even fewer roads or rail lines here than there were
across Belorussia.
e. The S.U. could make a \spoiling attack\ at East Prussia & Warsaw.
f. It is a huge presumption that Turkey would participate. It had an
army of about 20 infantry divisions, cavalry. mountain troops, etc.
but they were poorly equipped & trained. That force would be all
but useless attacking through the very rough terrain of the Caucasus.
A relatively small force could ring it to a standstill.
g. As noted elsewhere, Franco had no interest in joining the war on
either side. He had just obtained his position through a bloody war
of nearly three years. His army, too, was poorly equipped. The
chance of die Kriegsmarine ever gaining control of Gibraltar would be
virtually zero.

182. 182
Prashant Bist says:

Watch cradle to the grave movie of das Reich .Germans r comming.Germania .total economy just like total German economy.

183. 183
Ronald Lameck says:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT:

I'm OUT!. Finished with participation in this forum. I have said all I had to say – long ago, in fact. Newer inputs are either repetition of ground already covered or are so far off topic as to better constitute a separate discussion. All to circular for me. Also, I feel like St. George. I reply to one issue but, like the dragon, 2, or 4 or 8 show up. I simply haven't got the time to spend on this. Have fun everybody.

184. 184
Christopher says:

Actually if goring had kept up the bombing of the airfields for another two weeks the RAF would have been grounded and defeated then the invasion would have been successful. It was on September the 5th at 11 am goring gave the order to bomb London.

Source: The Ultra Secret by F.W. Winterbotham page 85

185. 185
Christopher says:

Too bad Ronald Lameck left……………it is a good sign if a person is versatile in the debating of various military topics but to have tunnel vision on one topic implies a lack of imagination.

I myself am a military historian and have books written from the allied, Japanese and German points of view. Each of these books points out the blunders made by their commanders and then the cover ups created to make operations look like a success.

One example of many: To the day he died montgomery refuse to admit he screwed up operation market garden.

186. 186
John says:

Thank you Ronald, we have learned a lot of you, and enjoy your versatile and accurate answers. Of course some people didn't work on the point. We wait to hear of you in the next topics suggested!

187. 187
Prashant Bist says:

Thanks
Ronald
For clearing my doubts on how the attack on Moscow would have been brought about.your point no181.has cleared all issues about medeterarian route and Leningrad in a brief and coinse way.guten tag

188. 188
Rolle says:

189. 189
Prashant Bist says:

Stalin wouldent have rolled over Germany .because German Wehrmacht was the strongest at the time.but as rolle says the Russian had ammased troops to consume Poland with Germany and to maintain status quo just in case over Romanian oilfeilds.this Hitler would have fortified with the help of Luftwaffe and tank divisions.the Moscow should have been the main objective and not Stalingrad.the order should have been Leningrad first and Moscow second.it should have been surrounded immideiately from kursk and not giving Russians time with a press release of operation citadel.Moscow was a major rail road junction a political hub and manufacturing hub .even though major industrial complex were shifted from Moscow but still factories remained which could have been useful to Nazis.

190. 190
Prashant Bist says:

Stalingrad and Baltic ports were not that important.its like if heart collapses the whole body goes under paralyses.Moscow was to be surrounded from Leningrad and Kursk with maximum power Wehrmacht Luftwaffe and krigsmarine.its like ant mole.if one steps on the ant hole then there is mayhem and ants could be seen running away from mole.I mean collapse of system.the army group southa and army group south b was to be diverted to help army group centre

191. 191
Prashant Bist says:

Caucasus and Grozny not that important.infact field marshal Paulus should have driven towards Kursk and joined army group centre.if we look at Russian map it was okey until sea of Azov ports to be taken main routes cutt off to Moscow and then directly go for the capital not giving time for operation citadel official announcement and incoming of Siberian troops

192. 192
Prashant Bist says:

Oil was the main problem but Rumanian oil oilfeilds were good enough for continuation of war uptil the fartheset German thrust in 1943 to 1945 two year's.he shouldn't kave gone for Crimea and Grozny . Caucasus oilfeilds.as previously said .he did know where to turn.Kursk railroad was exactly the point where Russians were expecting the attack.it was to be taken as early as possible.and intact pualus to take the next route avialiable to Moscow.so as to encircle it.I mean complete paralyses of nerve centre

193. 193
Prashant Bist says:

Stalingrad was a sham which Stalin played to Hitler and Hitler fell for it.it didn't had much industrial significance to Moscow.but it stretched Hitlers forces on the front thus weakening them.intact it was not even in the direct route of Moscow.Paulus after decimateing the city should have moved on towards Moscow.not to sit like lame duck for 2 and half years finally to surrender after being surrounded.he was to move towards army group centre to maintain the thickness of the front.I mean depth and not to over stretch the front to dilute the assault wid thin forces.my god what a blunder.

194. 194
Prashant Bist says:

Those chemicals used on Jews and biological weapons should have been used on the way to Moscow.like polluting river lake dikes main waterways and dams and main water supply to Moscow

195. 195
Prashant Bist says:

Any gathering of more than a 1000 people even civilians who could have built trenches dykes or lay mines for tanks to have been bombarded from air.all on the way to moscow

196. 196
Prashant Bist says:

Re:194
By chemicals I mean war chemicals like zyklon b produced by IG farben now broken into Bayer agfa hoest Henkel all the deadly chemicals produced by these firms like posionous gases methane nerve gas zarin etc to be used on the way to Moscow.it goes with Hitlers words no one is going to ask the victors how they won the war.all rivers dams leading to Moscow and water supply line to be chemically charged.

197. 197
Prashant Bist says:

War of liberation was to be fought for current EU members and not with Russia as Hitlers arch enemy.those fringe countries were to loosely coordinated to form greater Deutsch Reich .it could have function as a bulwark against soviet attack as well as launch pad for further operation .deadly chemicals produced by igfarben basf Bayer honest Henkel etc like tear gas zyklon b nerve gas mustard gas zarin etc to be used on way to moscow

198. 198
Basil says:

After their huge July victory at Smolensk, if the Germans had continued their push on Moscow it is almost certain they would have forced the USSR to capitulate by the time \Raputitsa rains came by mid October.

The 2 main keys in repulsing the Germans at the gates of Moscow was the introduction of T-34's in large numbers by November, along
with the westward transfer of dozens of Siberian divisions who were guarding eastern soviet lands from Japan. It was not till October that Stalin learned of Japans intent to attack the US and felt secure enough to transfer over a dozen tough Siberian divisions to defend Moscow.

Without these extra divisions and large numbers of T34's the Red Army was just reeling backwards on all fronts.in July, August and September. If Army Group Center launched Operation Typhoon by early August, with dry roads they would have encircled Moscow by late August. Stalin would have sent all resources to defend Moscow and it is almost certain that over a million Red Army soldiers and most of the Soviet armour would be trapped in a Moscow pincer. And since Stalin refused to leave Moscow in Oct-Nov with Germans at the gates, he would likely remain, and die in Moscow by early September, and that would have changed Soviet leadership and possibly lead to a negotiated surrender by anti-Stalinists.

It is true that a push on Moscow would have left an elongated exposed southern and northern flank, but with depleted Soviet generalship due to the 1937 purge there is no chance the Red Army could have launched an effective large scale counteroffensive from the north and south \ala Stalingrad\ to the rear of Army Group Center. Plus all resources would have been sent directly to the Moscow front which would have played right into the German pincer.

After Moscow would have fallen (and Stalin likely killed by his own hand) the USSR would likely have capitulated. There would be 1 more month (September) for Germans to clean up on Southern or Northern Fronts.

199. 199
Basil says:

I agree with much of the authors assertions except for the end.

After defeating the Red Army at Smolensk in late July, if the Germans had continued their push toward Moscow (like most of the German High Command wanted to), Army Group Center could have used an \Operation Typhoon\ like operation to encircle Moscow within a month (late August) given the dry roads of summer. Stalin would have siphoned all reserves to defend Moscow along the Mozhaisk line in front of Moscow and once again would have fallen prey to the German pincer movement, which during Typhoon attempted to encircle Moscow over 100 miles to its rear. With no Raputitsa or cold winter this would have easily been accomplished and over a million Red Army soldiers as well as most of the Soviets obsolete armor would be trapped. This would have ended the operational capability of the Red Army at that time.

Stalin during \Typhoon refused to leave Moscow, and so would have probably remained there. With Moscow being encircled over 100 miles behind, there would be no ground escape for Stalin, and the Luftwaffe would likely prevent air travel in/out of Moscow during the fair weather of summer, so Stalin would either be captured but more likely would do what he demanded of his captured officers, namely take his own life. Many \anti-Stalinists\ within the party would likely have negotiated some sort of capitulation with Germany by then.

It is true that a prolonged push on Moscow would leave Army Group Centre exposed on both flanks. But due to the siphoning of most resources to defend Moscow and lack of tactical expertise of the Red Army High Command due to the purge of most of its generals in 1937, there is little chance that an effective, large scale counter-offensive would have been immediately launched against the exposed northern and southern flanks of Army Group Centre. It wasn't until the T-34 tanks arrived in large numbers in December 1941 that such a counter might have been plausible. But this war would have been over by then…not to mention the lack of dozens of Siberian divisions that were protecting eastern USSR against Japan, and it was not till November that Stalin learned from secret agents that Japan would attack the US instead, making him comfortable enough to transfer them to defend Moscow in December 1941.

200. 200
JP says:

Basil,

The Smolensk Operation wasn't complete until mid to late August. And for the German forces, the costs were considerable: Hoth's Panzer-group 3 had barely 40% of its tanks operational; Guderian's Panzer forces were in just as poor as shape (Model's 3rd Panzer was down to 35 panzers). The cost to German Infantry was also high, as many regiments were down to battalion levels. To make matters worse, the Germans depleted almost their entire supply of fuel and lubricants (They had a 3 month supply at the beginning of Barbarossa and the Polesti oilfields provided an adequate supply), and their supply system was in disarray. At the beginning of Typhoon, Panzer-group 4 (which came down from AG North) just had 3 days of ammunition supply, and units like the 7th Panzer were short handed in infantry and anti-tank ammunition.

In order to make Typhoon work, Braunstisch had to siphon off panzers from AG South and AG North, as well as call up its only 2 panzer divisions held in reserve (12th and 5th Panzers. These 2 divisions provided half of AG Center's 1200 tanks). To make matters worse, Guderian's forces, who just completed a long arduous campaign near Kiev, could be brought into line in time; as a consequence, his army group's starting position was well south of where they would have provided the bang.

I put much of the blame on Halder and OKH. In September, Hitler was agnostic as to what to do next. If anything, he still backed his original strategy of winning the war \on the wings\. But, Halder and Brauchstich promised Hitler that a concentrated drive via Moscow would still win the day despite the lateness of the campaign season. Typhoon, from the beginning was seriously under-resourced; it depended upon a lone rail line operating out of Smolensk to bring up supplies; and the Luftwaffe was about in as bad a shape as the Wehrmacht.

201. 201
Christopher Hayman says:

Right-wing and revisionist fantasies aside Erich Ludendorff said it all when he wrote a note to President Hindenburg on the very day the later agreed to name Hitler Chancellor ' This man will drag us all into the abyss'. Hitler was at best a lower middle class armchair strategist fighting to avoid losing the last war by fighting the wrong war the next time round, duchessed by the decaying and befuddled European ultra- right wing. The real elite of bankers, industrialists, senior bureaucrats and those with the flexibility to move their patronage between right wing centrists and even left wing regimes also cooperated in using Hitler and urging the German President and the right-wing parties to pout Hitler into power. They all assumed that buttressed by reasonably rational lackeys like Goering and Himmler and with a substantial left-wing populist element within his movement that he would not be any worse than Mussolini had proven over the previous twenty years.
Hitler was doomed to achieve less than ten percent of what the Kaiser did even with the Kaiser’s (and the German High Commands’) worst case scenario of a Sedan like defeat for himself and their armies. In 1918 Ludendorff effectively staged a military coup to force a sudden, complete and absolute surrender. Unlike the revisionists and it appears the highly under-educated correspondents who crowd this blog he actually cared for the human beings under his control, whether they be the starving children of the poor and lower middle classes , the handicapped, those loyal and generally highly socially conservative Jewish people who loyally fought for both Kaisers in the War , or even those they considered marginal to social cohesion like Gypsy’s, or the small but symbolic French speaking population across the Rhine, or even those Anglo speaking peoples under German control (as the people of Heligoland were in effect and as were those English speaking settlers who had moved into the German colonies in the Pacific and Africa). He wanted to have something ‘there’ to be ‘there’ a generation or so later with which to allow the country to re-enter the counsels of Europe and the world. Ideological neo-conservativism muddied and destroyed any rational strategy by Germany after Hitler decided not to do anything that would bring Britain into a formal state of war with Germany. Had this insane man and his deluded group of fantasists and opportunists decided to avoid war with Britain at all costs then yes, they would have lost their capacity to attack westwards after about, say, 1950- 1958, but could have easily have developed a diplomatic and ideological network sufficient to launch a Pan European war on the Soviets by about, say 1950 or 1960. Eastern Europe would have easily been brought within their direct orbit and the very large and very real threat of internal revolution by pro-Soviet Marxist parties in Western Europe would have been countered by the rising up of pro-German ultra-right parties in the West.
As things turned out the rest of the European right-wing were still happy enough to either embrace German plans or approaches or at least nominally support them while remaining neutral and armed and able to initially at least hold-off from having to subject themselves to German military led enforcement of all of Germany’s special demands (the Francoist and Portuguese positions). This was the view before Germany started its insane war in 1939 and remained the view right up to 1943 of the ultra-right-wing outside Germany .So the revisionist position of today was the position held by the right-wing elements in the Catholic church or from the non-German fascism of the day and OF the mind-set among disenchanted and worried elements of the old and new elites who hankered after a fantasy Europe purged of all the left-wing aspects of the Late Enlightenment.
Germany’s initial military success was the cause of ALL the disasters that have occurred since then but not among this list of disasters is Germany’s defeat that was the very opposite of a disaster, it was a victory for Western civilisation. Despite the fact that Eastern Europe was subject to ongoing horrors of the anti-civilised nightmare of Marxist domination, this was unavoidable due to right-wing fanaticism infecting and ruining Frances’ capacity to fight a proper war and the weakness of Britain not just due to left-wing but also right-wing fantasies of the benefits of not having the decisive power accumulated and capacity to use against either the Soviets, Japan, the United States or Germany or anyone else say Italy or some broken way colonial entity that might require major and sustained military intervention.
Hitler knew that within ten to fifteen years Britain and France would re-acquire the capacity to defend themselves and strike out in a major intervention into the field. The fact he chose not to help this happen and hope to create some sort of pro-colonialist, pro-Imperialist, type space for major power play proves he was an amateur armchair strategist with no eye for the real future or the interests of his own or any other nation.
The right-wing is solely responsible for the handing over to the nightmare of Marxist control of half of the rest of the population of Europe between 1945 and 1952 when thanks to Marxist in the Anglo-Canadian-Australian nuclear program and those hidden within the US nuclear program the Marxists gained the hydrogen bombs five to seven years earlier than they would have. It would have been possible and probably would have happened that first generation nuclear devices would have been used (or the threat of it anyway) between 1948 and the early to mid-1950s to support uprisings in Hungary and other places that would have then started up had the West had ANY capacity at all to take on the regimes in China or the Soviet Union and support viable alternatives to occupation by Soviet or Chinese armies and local Marxist dominated post Fascist or post-colonial regimes.
Churchill’s greatest victory here was getting the United States to secretly help him delay a bit more than even it wanted to a cross-channel invasion and not thereby allowing the West to be forced into setting as early a date as the United States and Stalin wanted and would have been best for their own self-interests. This was his last great achievement before the reigns of world power Britain had held since its defeat of the French and others under his great ancestor set-off Britain’s new role as a leader (and not merely a follower) in European and therefore world power plays several centuries before.
Churchill and his left-wing successors (and remember Churchill was a Imperialist and right-winger in foreign policy but one still following the old Liberal agenda of compromise as the key on social and home issues if forced or pressed to) Yes this was coupled with a reactionary or ‘hold onto control’ agenda for the actual Empire territories. It is only in the last thirty years after hundreds of millions of unnecessary deaths due to failed state dynamics, insane and nightmarish post-colonial regime and needless and wanton waste of post-colonial resources by the majority of those people who have gained power in the majority of post-colonial contexts that we are beginning to concede that decolonisation as it occurred cam sixty years too early).
Churchill was around with Lloyd George and the others having to deal with the United States attempts to destroy the colonial system and their successful attempt to weaken it. He learned from de Gaulle (just as de Gaulle learned in theory from Churchill in the first place) just how positive a fact it was to retain the widespread colonial heritage and presence across the globe. The overseas presence acted as counter-balance to not just ultra -right wing at home but to the left-wing as well as they was forced to remain colonialist and govern in away their ideology did not fully countenance. Apart from not eating away at the edges of Indian independence and possibly allowing a few Princes and minor territories on the periphery to remain out and fully colonially British the Atlee government more or less followed this strategy especially once it became apparent the Marxist and the ultra-left were seeking to use decolonisation and the peace movement for their own ends. All this was apparent from before the War but became crystal clear even before the U.S. entered the war as the whole set of issues and pressures Churchill felt he had to juggle. Some bi-polar and drunkard for finding a way through this maze revisionists! He was neither just bi-polar or only a habitual reasonable drinker (but also a good eater when he drank, mostly, too)/ He had a daily and personal routine similar to that of many eccentric, geniuses, aristocrats and or artists (and he was all of these things) and he was in his early old age so give him a break!
One things the uneducated or under- educated among the revisionists fail to mention is that the price of the so called Vichy style peace of offered to Britain between 1940 and 1942 was that like France they were to ‘stop being’ a world power and become self-absorbed entities operating like large Scandinavian countries probably allowing for German bases and military presence and forced tutelage of Germany in a German create successor to the League. Also they would have to support indirectly by trade and supplies any German attacks on the Soviets and probably later on Japan. Also to support German aggressiveness and laying down of terms to the United States. Churchill knew full well that Petain had in effect been a dupe of the Germans since the time he was Ambassador to Spain. Also that he could not trust the European ultra-right, including the Vatican who were either playing a double-game between nominally saying they believed that liberal and democratic values should be allowed to survive and hoping he Germans would create the situation that would allow ultra-Catholic fascist reality to operate in as much of the world as they could manoeuvre this to happen in.
Churchill was a realist negotiating the deal with Field Marshal Michael Collins that gave Southern Ireland self-government within the British Commonwealth with more capacity for neutralist approach than he would have wanted. He looked to the long game and had not ultra neo-conservative arsehole de Valera conspire to have Collins assassinated and removed compete form the scene rather than ultimately have to be negotiated with during the Irish Civil War Britain would have had another two or three divisions with which to defend itself in 1939-1940 and potentially, had Collins survived, as say President and Head of the Army another Smuts figure to add to British strategic counsels.
So Churchill had the post-war situation in mind five years before he returned to power. He continued to hold out for as much leverage as would be possible for Britain stripped of its capacity to set the world agenda. He hoped Britain would emerge from the defeat of Germany as least as it had emerged in 1919 and be able to hold together as much of the Empire as possible for another several generations until anti-colonial sentiment subsided even among the native populations. He hoped that somehow something like the present day EU could be set-up probably with a focused military capacity ready to take advantage of any Soviet weakness and intervene to destroy the Soviets when this became politically possible, possibly with the help of a differently disposed US President. For the short term this objective had to be stopped after July 1941. The British were vaguely aware that Stalin might strike first or that Germany might strike Russia they assumed they would be able to then add the Soviets to their list of allies, even if the United States stayed neutral. The alliance had to include some deals over territory and power sharing after the Soviets of necessity, stopped being allies of Germany and even became not just belligerent neutrals with still some ideologically proclaimed aim of still destroying the West while also fighting Germany.
So it is insane to argue that Churchill had an option to give away Britain’s capacity to do anything but be a neutral colonial focused nation allowing Germany to set European policy and deal with all the other great powers of the day. The French right wings after about 1938 like Mussolini were prepared to actually do this. It remains a mass fantasy of all ultra-right thinking (including present day Arabist religious extremist fascism) that this was a ‘credible’ and ‘best’ option. Yes a good number of British and Imperial leaders and elite figures felt this was a possible and even the best option. Churchill never did and the alternative my revisionist friends was a complex mix of holding-off, holding-back, playing for time, seeing what we could do, French style, de Gaulle style, Eden style, Macmillan style. Until such time as Britain realises that if it truly adds it weight to Europe, a liberal Europe, and remains firm and pro-active within this paradigm, neither too left-wing or right-wing, a bit to the right of Scandinavia and the left of most current broad right-wing agenda with a real belief in suing force and using it well and having it to use- the space Churchill bought for Western civilisation and which it still has will go under -utilised.
So Churchill was playing a longer game than any other leader at the time, longer than the Cold War, longer than the immediate context of the US-Soviet world order, longer than what he realised would be a continentally dominated flavour to the United Europe he ultimately believed was the next best option to Britain remaining a world power in its own right.

202. 202
John says:

I PROPOSE TO RETURN TO THE BASIC POINT: WHAT IF THE GERMANS……

The following discussion and subsequent progress projection of each German advance after Moscow, are based on a strict consideration of military capabilities of the German army and the army of the former USSR in 1941 and 1942 , according to ROBERT FORCZYC, who thoroughly analyzed in his work "Tank warfare in the eastern front".

For those who have not read this magnificent book, which shows to what extent the victory was at hand, I will mention some facts :

1- At Barbarossa beginings, the USSR had a lead of 20,000 over 3,200 German tanks, but as of September 30 had fallen to 1,200 against 2,200 (the Germans had passed !).

2- With Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad free, the Russians during 1942 produced an average of 1,600 medium tanks per month, compared to 400 in Germany. Without those three cities, Russian tank production would fall by a half, at the best.
Moreover, all light infantry weapons, projectiles necessary for the artillery, guns and so, which were produced in many industries that had seat in Moscow, as the refinery and distribution of oil, tires, etc., means that all the military complex will be strangled.
With no overwhelming material superiority, then the USSR would receive defeat after defeat.

3- If Moscow falls, say in September 1941, the Germans had enough time to completely block Leningrad, closing the Ladoga and connecting with the Finns. With Moscow in their hands, the total defeat of the USSR was guaranteed. They can derive troops quickly using the easy and economical serious rail system now for Hitler, against a weakened Red Army, who have now their bases and industry 500 to 1.000 km far away. It was the lack of fuel which stopped the Germans before the Raputzia, but now, with the train net in her hands, they are unstoppables.
Falling Moscow, Germany not suffered the painful December withdrawal, which deprived her of her precious Panzer forces and most of the initial million vehicles, turning them into an army marching on foot or horseback .
At the same time, Kleist in the south have found less resistance to the conquest of Rostov, and it would have cut the Volga, before December 31. Thus Crude supplies not reach more Central Russia, via Astracan and the Volga.
They were the initial objectives of Barbarossa, ​almost entirely achieved

4- This means that already in early 1942 Hitler would get at their hands all the objectives of Operation Blau: depriving the USSR of Caucasus oil resources, and Stalingrad was already besieged in 1941 and their factories down for the artillery.
Without oil , without the rail network in Moscow, the STAVKA would be responding weakly and late to the German initiatives. Stalingrad would fall on April 1942 at the latest and the Caucasus and its oil ( Maikop, Grozny and Baku ) in July 1942 .
Nor did the Allies would arrive supplies (see photos of Grant tanks in July in southern Russia ).

5- All attacks to liberate Moscow during 1942 and perhaps 1943, only means an erosion of human and material of Russians resources with a ratio of 7-1 or 10 to 1.
Before the end of the year, a short stroke overthrow Stalin, with the objective of the Russians sign a peace.
If in 1942 the real loss ratio was 5-1 against the Russians, withouth Moscow, it will be worst against the USSR, because they need to make the gratest effort to try to recover it. Remember the bloodiest Karkov battles, against well prepared fortress and positions, of well trained German infantry and spared fresh panzertroops, with more well supplied guns. A nigthmare like the 1942 battle of Briansk bulge, but reloaded. Probably the USSR never more reach a material superiority, neither human resources too, in the following years.

6- In August 1942 the 1st . Kleist's Panzer Army would be entering Iran and threatening Kuwait and Iraq.
I would never happens Torch , the war would be decided in Kuwait , where the Americans and Britons would take their naval and ground forces.

7- However, the Germans conquered Kuwait and Basra in September- October 1942.

8- Vichy would receive axi's weapons and allied would be belligerent, France joined Germany to retake Siria and Iraq.

9- 1944 started with a rain of V-2 on London and the massive defense of the Reich with jets, in large production from 1942 , lead the Allies to sue for peace in 1944. The "D" day never would take place . Petain govern France until his death, like Hitler, who would be buried like heroes .

10- The Holocaust would not have taken place, the Jews would be deported by mass to Israel, under unconditional German support. Interestingly this country it is who would ensure its independence, not the US.

203. 203
David says:

Taking Kiev was not only Hitler's choice, many German generals supported the idea also. A single thrust to Moscow, even successful, would have exposed the Army Group Center's extended right flank to the formidable Russian SW front, which was highly risky. Either way, I agree with the author that taking Moscow would only have delayed the demise of Nazi Germany and USSR would eventually recover and go on the offensive. Barbarossa was doomed to fail from the very beginning due to Hitler's overconfidence, and his underestimation of Russian strength and resolve. German army was simply not strong enough to take Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev at the same time.

The only variable strategic factor in my opinion is Japan. Had Japan attacked the USSR simultaneously with Germany instead of taking the fateful path fighting with the US, Germany might have a chance given USSR would be engaged in a two front conflict. Of course, the victory is only possible given the major assumption that US stayed out of the war, at least officially, for extended period of time. All bets are off otherwise.

204. 204
Daniel Hovet says:

I agree with Dan. Stalin never would have allowed Moscow to be taken without a ground fight; at the very least, it would have descended in the end to block-to-block warfare in the winter of Moscow, with massive casualties; every subway, sewer, tunnel, bunker, etc. would have to be cleared, with large amounts of hand to hand. There would have been beseiged NKVD holdout battalions in the basements of the Lubyanka and other government buildings; every capable citizen would be turned into a soldier for the Soviets, men, women, and children alike; It would be one of the bloodiest and most horrific spectacles of the war, easily. But, it could well have been done; the Nazis would utilize seige tactics like in Leningrad, and the Soviet armor in the area was largely a joke (outdated tanks like the BT-7 and T-28 would have lasted minutes against the Nazi war machine). Ultimately, who knows?

205. 205
Chris G. says:

I haven't read all of the comments, so this might've been addressed previously; none the less, here is my comment.

The Battle for Moscow was lost before the launch of Barbarossa. No not in the Balkans & Greece (6 weeks of precious time for sure!) but in 1940. Dunkirk was a HUGE lost victory and, later in 1940, not totally focusing on the complete destruction of British airfields was another lost victory. Another case of an arrogant politician, with limited military experience, reining in the Dogs of War. The occupation of Britain would've, IMHO, forced the U.S. to focus on Japan.

Some historians claim that Stalin was playing for time, perhaps launching his own attack in 1943. NIGHTMARE SCENARIO: Britain stays in the fight. Operation Overlord occurs BUT Stalin abides by his treaty with Hitler and remains neutral. The Allies and Germans smash one another to pieces and then Stalin's Hordes move West \to save Western European Civilization\ and only stop once at the English Channel!

206. 206
knightdepaix says:

Japan's good chance of success if not the best to combat against Russia/Soviet Union was in the decades around the First world war when political unrest, the Bolshevik Revolution and the civil war brought division among Russian population. Zhuhov had beaten Japanese forces at Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol; why would Japan risk attacking at least numerical superior the Red Army in the Far East ? What Japan can benefit from attacking the SU in 1940s?

Dunkirk would have wiped out or rendered British and French forces numerically weak to fight for at least a year when German diplomacy worked with Vichy and its Axis allies to take British areas in the Middle East while the military attack the Isles. By linking Italian and Germany territorial interest in the Balkans and eastern Mediterranean, these spheres of influences would help convince powers in the Middle East, East Africa and West Mediterranean (that is Spain and Portugal) to join Germany and Italy. Could Middle East resources supply Italian and Germany needs ?

Even if Barbarossa had been successful in taking Moscow, how can East European peoples accepted another foreign ruling power ? They are between German and SU giants; German diplomacy could have worked a similar scheme to Polish interwar ideas of divide-and-conquer in Russia bordering Eastern Europe and the Balkans: A federation or a closer alliance among Finland-Estonia-Karelia supported by British, France, Germany, the US against the SU in the north with Baltic and Barent Seas for maritime transport. Similarly, a German supported Romania-Moldava alliance against the SU in the south with the Black Sea for transport.

So, folks please understand the diplomatic need against the SU in Eastern Europe is almost the opposite to that in the Western Europe when Germany engaging France and Britian. German prospective diplomatic success against the SU needed long term solution which OB could not give, rendering the mother question of this topic – what happen if H took Moscow – a not useful solution.

207. 207
Chuck says:

Carlos: I believe the Aryan myth would have nullified any attempt to turn Russian soldiers into fighting against their own homeland. If you were a soldier fighting for your country, family, and personal holdings would you turn against the U.S.? Now if Japan had invaded Russia the German Army would not have had to deal with around a hundred Russian/Asian divisions that just made mincemeat out of the Werdmachet. Add to it that these Asian divisions were in their winter uniforms, use to below zero weather, and had lubricants that would not freeze their weapons. The German army has no or little winter clothing. My best, CPJ

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