Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
Politician01
Member
Posts: 441
Joined: 02 Sep 2011 06:56

Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Politician01 » 19 Sep 2011 11:36

In the What if thread we argue since days if the winter in Western Russia in 1941 was early and extremely cold.

One side claims that the winter in 1941 was early and that is was extremely cold.
(-40 Degrees in early December)

The other side claims that this is not true - that the winter was not early and not harder than a normal winter and that all sources that claim -40 Degrees in December are wrong or lies.

Does anyone have a really reliable source which can settle this dispute?

nobodyofnote
Member
Posts: 388
Joined: 02 Jun 2011 13:39

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by nobodyofnote » 19 Sep 2011 13:05

Politician01 wrote:In the What if thread we argue since days if the winter in Western Russia in 1941 was early and extremely cold.

One side claims that the winter in 1941 was early and that is was extremely cold.
(-40 Degrees in early December)

The other side claims that this is not true - that the winter was not early and not harder than a normal winter and that all sources that claim -40 Degrees in December are wrong or lies.

Does anyone have a really reliable source which can settle this dispute?
http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHi ... 0of%20USSR

You can follow the in-line references in the text.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 7004
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Art » 19 Sep 2011 14:44

Here is a graph of average monthly temperature, actual - winter 1941/42 (continuous line) versus normal (dashed line):
Image
As the text in the book near this graph says "One of the coldest winters on the territory of Russia in the XX century was the winter of 1941-42, when during three winter months air temperature was 5-7 ºC below normal.... At Kalinin and Yachroma near Moscow temperature dropped down to -50º C."
Also there is a graph of temperature measured at the Khodynka airfield meteostation in Moscow in November-December 1941:
Image
Although November was cold, the temperature rarely dropped below -10°C. In December there were two sharp peaks of cold - around 6 December and at the end of the month.

User avatar
Baltasar
Member
Posts: 4614
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Baltasar » 19 Sep 2011 21:39

Art, just to clarify: Those very cold days were only occasional and not the norm, correct? The average temperature in december seems to be around -20 degrees Celsius according to the first graph?

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17488
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by phylo_roadking » 20 Sep 2011 02:16

Hi Art - is there anything available on snowfall?

As you may have seen from the WI threat, it appears there was a long series of Scandanavian cyclones that rolled down over Russia through November and December - in effect bringing that winter's snows to Russia weeks earlier than the normal end-of-the-first-week-in-December date.

Personally - my opinion is that in effect there is no difference between "Winter" and winter weather; If there is snow on the ground that doesn't thaw, and the temperature doesn't rise above freezing at night or in the day, and we see ALL the technical issues that the Germans experienced from mid-November on - then it's winter, it's not date-bound.

Only snowbound.

Baltasar - I think Ljadw's points elsewhere on average temperaures are a bit of a red herring; it's those extremes that caused extremes of difficulty, and the daily problems with machinery were of course in the mornings after cold nights...the idea of an "average" daily temperature misses the point entirely; the low temperatures overnight had such an impact because they were low.
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

User avatar
Baltasar
Member
Posts: 4614
Joined: 21 Feb 2003 15:56
Location: Germany

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Baltasar » 20 Sep 2011 11:33

phylo, I thought that the German advance stopped or slowed down significantly when the mud season began, hence the argument that it was the winter which stopped the Germans seems to be unsustainable.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011 12:18

Maybe,but the extremes are not determining if a winter is cold or not :a winter with a lowest temperature of minus 20 can ce colder than a winter with a lowest temperature of minus 40,the same for the summer .
And,what about Milch saying that the winter of 1941-42,as the 2 previous winters,was not abnormal,but,by Russian standards,a medium winter ?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011 12:31

What would hurt the Germans more:one night with minus 40,or 5 nights with minus 20 ?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011 12:31

What would hurt the Germans more:one night with minus 40,or 5 nights with minus 20 ?

User avatar
LWD
Member
Posts: 8618
Joined: 21 Sep 2005 21:46
Location: Michigan

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by LWD » 20 Sep 2011 14:37

ljadw wrote:... And,what about Milch saying that the winter of 1941-42,as the 2 previous winters,was not abnormal,but,by Russian standards,a medium winter ?
The map athttp://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHistory%2 ... #1939-1940
Shows that the average temperatures for 39-40 were well below those of 29-38
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/giste ... eighbors=1
also seems to support at least 39,40, and 41 being much cooler than usual.
Similarly the map at:
http://www.climate4you.com/ClimateAndHi ... 9.htm#1941
Shows the Decemeber 41 temperatures as being well below those of 30-39.
The evidence tends to point to him being incorrect it would however be useful to see exactly what he said. Sometimes the details can reconcile such disparate observations.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011 16:07

The only thing I have is what Irving is writing and the link he is giving (forgot to mention it in the other thread):MD17/3128
Milch also was saying that the winter of 1941-42 was somewhat worse than the months october,november and december 1812,(when Napoleon was retreating from Russia),but that the following months(january,february and march 1813)were the coldest there ever had been.(implying colder than 1941-1942).

ljadw
Member
Posts: 15470
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by ljadw » 20 Sep 2011 16:39

Maybe that the argument of Milch was that 1940-41 and 1941-42 were normal winters and that the winters of the thirties were warmer than normal ?
Whatever,if we had a list of the winters of the 20th century,classified following the cold and with the the relative differences ,the problem would be solved .

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 7004
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Art » 21 Sep 2011 10:02

Baltasar wrote:Art, just to clarify: Those very cold days were only occasional and not the norm, correct? The average temperature in december seems to be around -20 degrees Celsius according to the first graph?
Yes, that seems to be in accord with the table here:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/ ... tation.txt
which gives an average temperature for January as -19.8°C
It's worth to note that January 1940 was nearly as cold as in 1942, in 1941 it was colder than usual too. Yet in November-December the temperature was much lower that in two previous years. As follows from the table the winter of 1941/42 was the second coldest in the history of recordings, and the coldest in the XX century. The same is true for January 1942.
Hi Art - is there anything available on snowfall?
In October or in winter month in general? I haven't seen recorded data for Moscow, yet something can be found for stations in central Russia. As concerns precipitation, military documents mention poor state of roads in the second half of October.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17488
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by phylo_roadking » 21 Sep 2011 11:28

Hi Art - is there anything available on snowfall?
In October or in winter month in general?
Sorry, I should have been more specific - is there any record of the dates when snowfall first remained on the ground instead of thawing/melting that Winter?
As concerns precipitation, military documents mention poor state of roads in the second half of October.
Would military records normally mention Rasputitsa conditions like that - given that it happens on a regular twice-yearly basis - or does that mean they were exceptional?
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 7004
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Early and harsh winter in 1941?

Post by Art » 21 Sep 2011 19:23

phylo_roadking wrote: Sorry, I should have been more specific - is there any record of the dates when snowfall first remained on the ground instead of thawing/melting that Winter?
I believe on 6/7 November. Photos from that morning show fresh snow cover in Moscow:
http://victory.rusarchives.ru/index.php ... hoto_id=59
Snowfall is mentioned in several sources, for example:
http://www.wwii-photos-maps.com/germand ... 00327.html
The temperature was about 0°C, so snow was wet and formed ice crust, which again lead to deterioration of road conditions after 7.11, yet it din't fully melt down before a new frost on 11 November.
Interesting that on the same day (7 November) Samara looked completely devoid of snow:
http://victory.rusarchives.ru/index.php ... hoto_id=62
Would military records normally mention Rasputitsa conditions like that - given that it happens on a regular twice-yearly basis - or does that mean they were exceptional?
No, I don't think so. Regularity with which road and weather conditions were reported depended was different in different headquarters, but in case of impassible or nearly impassible roads it must be definitely registered was it usual or not.

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”