The original barbarossa plan

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Sieger
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The original barbarossa plan

Post by Sieger » 16 Jan 2003 23:13

When Hitler ordered the generals in 1940 to come up with a plan for an invasion of the Soviet Union, the general staff came up with a plan for rapid penetration deep into the Soviet Union but since Hitler was focused on destroying the Red Army he had it modified with to destroy the Red Army in a series of encirclement movements which resulted in the Barbarossa plan that we now know. What if Hitler had accepted the original plan as it was?

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Post by davethelight » 17 Jan 2003 07:18

Without knowing the details of this original plan it is difficult to say.
But if the Germans were to originaly just go straight for Moscow, Leningrad and the Causcasus, I would say that they could possibly have captured them, and even defeated the Soviets.
From there, they could well have won the war.

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Post by ISU-152 » 17 Jan 2003 09:54

The defeat of Germany would come out earlier. Having multitude of troops in its rear, the Germans would face a lot of more problems. Logistics and supply roots would be under constant strikes of the enemy. Some of the city garrisons would be wiped out. It would be like a backstab for the frontline troops. I doubt one wants to advance deep having entire enemy armies in its rear.

Any plan would not work against Soviet Union. Hitler's madness just made the germans pay the price.

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Post by Sam H. » 17 Jan 2003 15:27

There was constant friction between the forward generals and Hitler. Hitler was obssessed with troops escaping the pockets. Generals like Bockm Guderain and Hoth demanded speed above all else. The ultimate decision was the halt after Smolensk. Hitler sent the panzer north and south after Leningrad (which they did not capture) and Kiev (the greatest encirclement in history). Many argue that if Hitler had taken his generals advise and went for Moscow at this time (August '41), Germany could have captured Moscow and won the war in the east.

But ... we'll never know if this would have been enough.

Ultimately, it was Germany's inability to do both at the same time that was its downfall.

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Post by Sieger » 18 Jan 2003 03:36

I tend to agree with the Generals because if Hitler had done what the Generals had todl him he would have captured Leningrad, Moscow a lot sooner taking these population centers out of the war for the USSR. Also the factories that were in those regions instead of being shipped eastward they USSR would have been compelled to destroy them since there was no time to move them. Hence less people to draft into the Red Army and less factories to produce. The war should have been a war of grabbing more land not of trying to destroy the Red Army initially. They could have captured Moscow by September. The route for leningrad was opened in six weeks but for some inexplicable reason and much to the consternation of Guderian the Panzer units were told to wait for the infantry to catch up. Had they moved Leningrad would have fallen.
The Red Army was a mess, some units were quick to surrender other fought fanatically.

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Post by Musashi » 18 Jan 2003 21:05

ISU-152 wrote:The defeat of Germany would come out earlier. Having multitude of troops in its rear, the Germans would face a lot of more problems. Logistics and supply roots would be under constant strikes of the enemy. Some of the city garrisons would be wiped out. It would be like a backstab for the frontline troops. I doubt one wants to advance deep having entire enemy armies in its rear.

Any plan would not work against Soviet Union. Hitler's madness just made the germans pay the price.
I absolutely agree. Napoleon had the same problem. Hitler could launch his attack much earlier (for example in March) with bigger chance of success.

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Post by Sieger » 19 Jan 2003 06:56

Don't you think the same thing could be done by the Panzers. Disrupting enemy lines of communication and intercepting reinforcements before they were ready. The situation seems to have been very messy after the initial breakthrough into the USSR. Also if the German infantry needed support the panzers could strike at the rear of the Red Army troops in the way of the German infantry.

You guys make it sound that the Red Army would be organized enough in the early part of the war to actually coordinate effective actions such as surrounding the German formations and wiping them out, which is far from the truth. The Red Army had more tanks than the German Army yet they lost a ridiculous number of them due to the fact they were unprepared.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 19 Jan 2003 11:03

Blitzkrieg was so successful in Poland and Western Europe because of the short distances covered, and the confusion and panic it could course within both local command areas, but also in army commands, and in Governments.

The Soviet Union presented a challenge to this, due to the fact that Moscow was so far away from the German border, it would not be possible to completely disrupt the reaction mechanisms of the Soviet Union. Power centres, such as Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev, were so far clear of the front lines, that they would still be useful for a significant period after the Blitzkrieg had been launched.

As noted, problems with logistics, and leaving huge bodies of enemy soldiers behind your lines was always going to be a problem. To have let those pockets not be watertight, would have meant leaving a huge partisan problem to clean up, which would have further hinded the already massive logistical effort. Thus the encircled armies did have to be defeated.

The problem came, as has been mentioned, when Hitler ordered Panzer's to go North and South from Army Group Centre. The key was ultimately Moscow, it had to be seized in the opening campaign to ensure a German ability to significantly disrupt the machinary of Soviet Government to allow them to hold the territory they had gained. While preferable, captured Leningrad could theoretically wait, and Kiev seemed destined to fall regardless of whether Panzer's from Army Group Centre were sent south.

What is often cited as the main danger for Army group Centre in simply continuing its drive on Moscow is that it would have exposed itself to attacks from the flanks. However, we must take into account Stalin's later reaction to Typhoon as an indicated of how he would reaction, and the Red Army's inability to launch an effective attack until Winter 42/43.

Stalin's reaction to Typhoon was simple, throw everything you've got in front of it. One could expect to see a similiar reaction had Army group centre continued on it's drive. The idea of losing Moscow to a foreign power must have seemed like complete disaster to Stalin, and thus he would have been determined to prevent it, in the best way he thought he could, but throwing everything he could straight at the Germans, rather than around them.

Moscow was also an important railcentre, and it was where reinforcements from Siberia, and elsewhere in the Soviet Union could gather to be distributed elsewhere. A strike to capture Moscow would disrupt the flow of supplies to other fronts, hopefully long enough to allow the German Army's enough time to catch up on Army Group Centre's rapid advance.

With Stalin committed to defending Moscow at all costs, his General's would have been starved of reinforcments. However, in the event that they did try to blunt the Germans by pinching their pinchers (Kirponos used this to effect in the South until his death, and it was recognised as an effective way of countering the German attack at the time, especially given the trouble the German's suffered because of it), it would require coordination and determination that the Soviets did not seem capable of at the time. Their lack of effective offensive operation (the Winter counter attack of 41, despite driving the Germans away from Moscow, badly maulled the Red Army as well). The Red Army's inability to launch an effective offensive operation would have likely kept an advance on Moscow safe, the main danger would be Hitler overreacting and ordering the drive to stop.

With Moscow seized, reinforcements distrupted, Government disrupted, overall command disrupted, morale shattered, I can picture the Germans claiming most of their objectives for 1941 easily, with perhaps the exception of Leningrad.

What would remain to be seen would whether the Germans could actually defeat the Soviet Union from such a position, or whether it would simply end up being a stalemate.

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Post by b_c_ries » 19 Jan 2003 16:54

Even if the Germans would have concentrated their forces towards Moscow they would not have taken it. They may have gotten into Moscow, they may have taken most of it but they would have had to fight the Russians for the city block by block, house by house, and room by room. The Germans would have had to totally encircle Moscow before taking it and been about 50 to 75 Km past the main part of the city. Even if they took Moscow the Russians were Psychologically prepared for its fall by Napoleons invasion victory before. The Russians in Moscow would hang tough because they would know that a huge Russian army was still in the the south and able to attack the German invaders from behind. In conclusion, the Germans would get bogged down and drawn into urban warfare where their combined arms tactics and mobility were less of an advantage, and cut off and isolated by counter-attacks from behind sort of like Stalingrad.
If 70 grains of IMR 4064 in a 7.92x57 case behind a 197 gr. fmj is too much then 85 grains should be just right.

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Post by Sam H. » 20 Jan 2003 01:01

BC,

I disagree with your analysis of the effect of the fall of Moscow on Russia. First, it would have been a tremendous moral victory for the Germans and a devestating loss of prestige to Stalin. Second, and perhaps more importantly, Moscow was a key rail communication hub. The taking of Moscow would have affectively cut Russian forces in half. The Northern Army would have been defeated and dispirited and the Southern Army would be realing from the fall of Kiev and Ukraine - perhaps making a stand at Rostov.

I think there is a strong possibility that Stalin's government would have fallen, at a mininum, it would have been shaken to its core.

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Post by Sieger » 20 Jan 2003 02:51

Gwyn, the germans could have easly taken Leningrad before the defenses were prepared. About 6 weeks into the operation the Panzers had cleared the way to Leningrad but for some inexplicable reason they were told to stop and wait for the others to catch up. The commanders looked at this order incrediously.

Had Hitler gone with Hoth and Guderian, they would have ended up breaching defensive lines beyond smolensk before the Red Army had such positions fully prepared. In effect it would have been like feeding their troops piece meal(half prepared) into the Panzer formations to chew up.

The lines though would have been streched for another reason, the Soviet commanders in the south historically woke up the the magnitude of the situation so Axis progress was slow in the south while in the north Axis forces had penetrated deep. The question would be what would Stalin have done? Would he have diverted troops from the South the help out the north (while at the same time ordering attacks, which he did until the generals convinced him that such was no realistic), weakening the south.

Also if Moscow fell Stalin would have kept on fighting with less credibility since he would get the blame for weakening the Red Army (purges but that is another thread).

Another thing that people haven't noticed is the factories that historically were moved to the Urals and beyond would have been captured or destroyed since there was no time to dismantle them and move them east.
Thus lessening the productive advantage the USSR had over germany.

In this scenario the 3 major population centers Kiev, Moscow and Leningrad would have fallen thus depriving the USSR of a large number of recruits to the Red Army. Less men, and less weapons.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 20 Jan 2003 09:06

Not only would have the fall of Moscow been a huge moral success for the Germans, and defeat for the Russians, but as has been mentioned was the main rail hub for reinforcements from the East. Had Moscow been seized, it could have severely disrupted supplies, and as has been noted, lead to the destruction of the Northern Russian Army's, especially given the bare trickle of supplies from Britian reaching the Northern Ports.

The Southern Armies would have also struggled. I don't have the map handy, but I believe the major rail links would have required Russian supplies to first be brought to Moscow from the East, then sent southwards towards the Southern Armies. With Moscow lost, the Russians would need to construct new rails lines (as I suspect they would be doing anyway)

Moscow wasn't the same type of city as Stalingrad, was it? It wasn't as modern as Stalingrad, and if so, this would have made street fighting easier. Any information on this? if Moscow was full of old wooden buildings, it would have been reasonably easy to clear, compared to the concrete fortress of Stalingrad.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 20 Jan 2003 09:39

If you really fancy experimenting with "What ifs" of the Barbarossa campaign, I highly recommend "War in Russia - Matrix Edition"
http://www.matrixgames.com/insidemg/mod ... load&cid=4

It's completely free, and I've found it a lot of fun.

And I'd love to find someone in this Forum to actually play at it.

Gwynn

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Post by ISU-152 » 20 Jan 2003 09:51

Sieger wrote:Don't you think the same thing could be done by the Panzers. Disrupting enemy lines of communication and intercepting reinforcements before they were ready. The situation seems to have been very messy after the initial breakthrough into the USSR. Also if the German infantry needed support the panzers could strike at the rear of the Red Army troops in the way of the German infantry.
Guderian wrote in his "Memories of a soldier" that further advance was not possible without proper maintenance, ammunition and fuel supplies. He wrote this after battles over Smolensk. Just a month after the invasion began. Don't you think the panzers are really dependent on fuel, ammunition and proper maintenance?
Guderian also wrote that "we must properly cover our flanks with infantry otherwise the russians will strike at our open flanks". See the point, he was waiting for the infantry to cover his flanks and he was right about it. If his panzers were simply advancing forward they would be cut out and destroyed by approaching reserves of the russian West front.
Sieger wrote: You guys make it sound that the Red Army would be organized enough in the early part of the war to actually coordinate effective actions such as surrounding the German formations and wiping them out, which is far from the truth.
Certainly it was not a mindless flock of sheep. :D Coordination was poor but the organization of RKKA was very flexible and fast reacting to the events on the front. During the first war month some 5.5 million soldiers were additionally drafted to form new armies. That is one hack of an army. The economy from peace-oriented was transferred to war-oriented in no time.
It might come to you as a surprise but several cities in the german rear changed hands many times because the encircled soviet troops were making their way to the front engaging german formations wherever they could.
Sieger wrote: The Red Army had more tanks than the German Army yet they lost a ridiculous number of them due to the fact they were unprepared.
That's is true. The commanding staff of the Soviet army was very poor in both strategical and tactical questions at the beginning of the war. They lost in fact too many tanks. But the loss of materiel and ammunition did not affect much the soldiers who kept on fighting nevertheless.

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Post by Sieger » 21 Jan 2003 01:56

Guderian also said that the Tanks engine was a weapon just its main gun.
I though he wasn't as concerned with the flanks as some of the more traditional infantry generals. Anyways, the whole point of this is to say that this war would have been a war of attrition and if Hitler had noted this he would have pushed his Panzers to take out population centers like Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev to deny the Red Army the ample source of recruits that it could draw from. However tthis large pockets of encircled Red Army troops doesn't explain fully why Hitler diverted his forces south to help out the south in encircling the South which was much better defended than the north. Don't you think that if Stalin had Panzers bearing down on Moscow he could have panicked and ordered diverting troops from the south and throw the reserves toward the defense of Moscow?

Stalin initially seemed to have been as irrational as Hitler with him ordering attacks when the front line troops were getting encircled and chewed up by the Panzers.

It is said that if the USSR had a good road system then it would have lost.

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