Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

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ljadw
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 14 Mar 2016 18:08

BDV wrote:
ljadw wrote:The Red army could not be defeated east of the DD line : this was proved by the failure of Typhoon .
That is conjecture. Also failure of Taifun points to the resilience of the Soviet State, not to the prowess of Soviet Army, otherwise Axis forces would find themselves at the DD line or worse come March 1942.


P.S.

Also, the possibility of a long war on the East did not even ENTER the minds of the Nazi German war planners. We have that from the SS Reichsfuhrer himself in his infamous Posen speech. So a short (non-fighting) confrontation was all that Nazi Germany prepared and planned for.

It is speculative, and in my opinion incorrect, to say they could not prepare for a longer war. They fought one even without being prepared.

They did not prepare for a long war ,because they knew they could not win a long war :and : they fought a long war and lost him .

In 1914 they also were going for a short war,for the same reason,and the short war resulted in a long war ,and they lost him .


Other point : Soviet State = Soviet Army .If the Soviet Army had been defeated, the Soviet state would collapse .

They tried to defeat the Soviet Army in a short campaign on the border and they lost .

Than they tried to defeat the Soviet Army ,against their own better judgment, 500 km away from the border, and they failed again .


If the Allies could not defeat the Germans in the autumn of 1944 500 km away from the coasts of Normandy, why should the Germans be able to defeat the Soviets in the autumn of 1941 500 km away from their depots .

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BDV
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 15 Mar 2016 16:47

ljadw wrote:They tried to defeat the Soviet Army in a short campaign on the border and they lost .
No, they tried to push RKKA aside so that they could get to the strategic points which captured would defeat the Soviet State. That's why vLeeb/Hoepner/Manstein did their jump towards Leningrad and Bock/Hoth/Guderian drove towards Moscow, in blatant disregard of a written directive, and with disastrous results given that RKKA had not been destroyed. That's why Kleist wanted to keep driving to Kiev.

That's why soviet troops pushed into the Pripyat were not paid any attention in planning; But then, neither were those caught between AGC and AGN (it just so happens that their destruction would have been a byproduct of 3rd Panzer turning north after Polotsk, as per directive 21).


That's the why of post-war whining about Moscow from the panzerjockey rooms. But in actuality, trading away Moscow is a bargain if Soviets keep East Ukraine (Kiev, Kharkov, and Donets coal) and Leningrad (Putilov works and the like).

Than they tried to defeat the Soviet Army ,against their own better judgment, 500 km away from the border, and they failed again.
If we combine the knowledge of German warplans and their actual implementation, the only time when destruction of the Soviet Army was the definite ultimate goal of an OstFront operation was Unternehmen Zitadelle - Kursk.

If the Allies could not defeat the Germans in the autumn of 1944 500 km away from the coasts of Normandy, why should the Germans be able to defeat the Soviets in the autumn of 1941 500 km away from their depots .
It would have been interesting to have been tried.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

steverodgers801
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by steverodgers801 » 16 Mar 2016 01:05

BDV, the goal was the destruction of the units in the western part of the country that the Germans knew about. Once the Germans realized that there were far more units then expected, the goal then became, destroy the next wave and that will be it. Even in November Halder believed that taking Moscow would destroy the last of the reserves

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 16 Mar 2016 14:39

steverodgers801 wrote: Even in November Halder believed that taking Moscow...
Quite my point, the Wehrmacht honchos saw Endsieg in the East as capturing the key geographical nodes of the Soviet State. Retrospectively (and should have been prospectively - that's why one is entrusted with the lives of millions -), this was physically quite impossible to do for the Wehrmacht and its auxiliaries. At a minimum that includes all industrial centers along the Volga (Gorki/New Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saratov, Stalingrad, Astrakhan). And even that still leaves the potent Magnitogorsk-Nizhny Tagil industrial corridor untouched.

Consider that Germany had dedicated 6 railway construction regiments to the OstFront (compare to the Sovjet million man rail-construction Army). Truly German planners expected minimal fighting in Western USSR, and none afterwards; given July developments and post-war statements even what happened historically was too much compared to their expectations!
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by steverodgers801 » 16 Mar 2016 19:53

The railway construction units actually show just how blind the Germans were. The Germans actually planned on capturing most of the Soviet rail system intact, because Germany did not have the infrastructure or trains to actually support German logistics. Not only were the tracks of a wider length, but the engines were bigger and could go farther so the Germans had to also build stations along the way for their trains which required trained men to run the stations.

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 16 Mar 2016 21:27

steverodgers801 wrote:... so the Germans had to also build stations along the way for their trains which required trained men to run the stations.
Which men were particularly hard to come by after "shooting all Jews and Bolshevik", one of many jackass moves that turned out to be "jackass"-style ways Axis shot themselves in the foot.


P.S.

LJADW:
They tried to defeat the Soviet Army in a short campaign on the border and they lost .


They tried to scare the Soviet Army in a short campaign on the border and lost. FTFY.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by MarkN » 17 May 2017 18:12

Polynikes wrote:Apologies if this has been resolved already - I didn't see anything specific in a search

OK, many have speculated what would have happened had Barbarossa been launched in May rather than late June 1941

The most commonly agreed answer is that the late Spring rains caused the operation to be delayed and the German operations in the Balkans/Greece to assist Italy are a red herring

However there are sources that state the Balkans campaign DID delay Barbarossa, one says by up to 5 weeks (von Paulus)

Is anyone aware of any prime sources that state the weather in the Western USSR was the prime concern in delaying the operation ?
My original thoughts on this are back on page 1 of this thread.

However, I have recently chanced upon an interesting document that contains the following:-

Image

The document is a transcript of Hitler's meeting with his Generals on 27 March 1941 to discuss how to respond to the Yugoslav military coup that morning. It is the only words in a 5.5 page document which are underlined.

I feel I may have to revise my original understanding.... 8-)

This is the front page for those interested in its provenance.

Image

Richard Anderson
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 May 2017 18:29

MarkN wrote:My original thoughts on this are back on page 1 of this thread.

However, I have recently chanced upon an interesting document that contains the following:-

The document is a transcript of Hitler's meeting with his Generals on 27 March 1941 to discuss how to respond to the Yugoslav military coup that morning. It is the only words in a 5.5 page document which are underlined.

I feel I may have to revise my original understanding.... 8-)

This is the front page for those interested in its provenance.
Fascinating! Good find. Where did you discover it? So much of the documentation for pre-June 1941 were destroyed in the Potsdam fires. Is this in one of the fragmentary reconstructed files?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 May 2017 18:59

Mark,

I'm not good at German but in Volume III of Germany and the Second World War Detlef Vogel says that:
'On 28 March 1941 Halder had assumed that the Balkan campaign would delay the start of the war against the Soviet Union by about four weeks.'
, referencing The Halder Diaries, ii, 843 (28 Mar. 41). Clearly responding to the meeting and document you have posted.

But he also states that:
'...the rapid success of the operation [in Balkans] permitted an early withdrawal of the divisions used in Yugoslavia and Greece and made unnecessary the planned transfer of reserves to south-east Europe. It is therefore probable that the final decision to set the attack on the Soviet Union for 22 June was due primarily to the fact severe flooding in eastern Europe prevented wide-ranging military movements there before the middle of June.'
Maybe it was a bit of both?

Regards

Tom

MarkN
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by MarkN » 18 May 2017 15:04

Hello Tom,

Thanks for posting that up.
Tom from Cornwall wrote: Maybe it was a bit of both?
Undoubtably.

My opinion has changed not from black to white, but the shade of grey. 8-)

Originally, I believed that the 'Balkan' excuse was principally a post-Operation excuse by the Wehrmacht to try and shift blame. Whilst the efforts to remove Yugoslavia from the map may have had a bit of an impact on the timing of Barbarossa, it never seemed to have been that significant. As judged and noted by Halder. However, what the document I have found now shows is that the idea of a delay to Barbarossa because of Yugoslavia was first mooted by Hitler as of 27 March. This decision must have filtered down into planning assumptions and the build up for Barbarossa. And, despite the quicker finish to the Balkans than anticipated, I suspect some residual delay must have existed in the buildup. Whilst it is relatively easy to delay the start of a major operation, it's not so easy to bring it back forward again once the new timetable is being adhered to.

Does that make sense?

In otherwords, I still feel that the military action in the Balkans placed little or no delay to the start of Barbarossa. But where delays were put into the build up and planning assumptions, I suspect some of those could not be reversed.

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Appleknocker27 » 19 May 2017 07:55

MarkN wrote:
In otherwords, I still feel that the military action in the Balkans placed little or no delay to the start of Barbarossa. But where delays were put into the build up and planning assumptions, I suspect some of those could not be reversed.
I fully concur with those statements. I don't believe that the expansion of the rail system was adversely effected by the Balkans operation, plan Otto wasn't completed until days before 22 June anyway if I remember correctly. The rapid deployment of the invasion forces was dependent upon the expansion as was the further supply of the armies in the field once they crossed the border. I think that the timeline for completion of infrastructure preparations, deployment schedule and weather are more or less the main planning factors behind the 22 June date and the Balkans campaign had little to do with it.

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by MarkN » 21 May 2017 15:05

I have no interest in the Eastern Front or Barbarossa per se.

However, I keep stumbling upon files on my HD that may be of interest to others.

Image

Para 1: Does this document indicate the day, 30 April 1941, that the decision to commence Barbarossa on 22 June 1941 was taken?

Para 4: An indication of how deluded the German High Command was as to their own capabilities. Is this Hitler's thinking or that of his Generals?

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Appleknocker27
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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Appleknocker27 » 21 May 2017 16:13

Well, it looks like the conference was held 30 April and this order was published 1 May. 22 June makes sense as a logical start date since it was the summer solstice with some 18 hrs of daylight for operations. The whole plan hinged on destroying the Soviet forces identified by German Intel, so in that light German decision making is obviously colored by that. The timeline for the attack is less of an issue than being fully prepared to bag the Red Army west of the Dnieper. After all, they wouldn't be able to mobilize quickly and they had no deep reserves beyond Smolensk, right? : )

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Jack Radey » 20 Mar 2018 02:01

I recommend to you the article Charles Sharp and I wrote for The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, entitled "Was it the Mud?" Our conclusion - no. Mud was a factor. It looms large in German memoirs, and German documents of the period. But only by guiding on the former and failing to carefully read the latter can you believe that the German offensive was stopped by the mud. There were other factors that were far more important.
1) The Red Army. After losing a million men in two weeks, it would seem there was nothing what was left of the Red Army could do to prevent a German waltz into Moscow. But it managed. Partly because of the lack of roads and their condition the Germans were only able to bring a portion of their strength to bear, and the Soviets matched them, if not in numbers, on every axis they tried to advance on. The critical clue - examine the German loss numbers in the last three weeks in October. And examine the condition of German divisions at the end of October, compared to the beginning of Typhoon. All those guys, and tanks, etc, did not die or get knocked out by being choked by mud. Someone was shooting holes in them. Wanna guess whom?

2) The roads. There weren't very many. For German purposes west of Moscow there were two, or three if you count the Old Post Road that ran parallel to the Moscow Highway. The other one was the Roslavl-Podolsk road. Over these the Germans attempted to supply two armies and two panzer groups. Wanna guess how that worked out? It caused enormous traffic jams for one thing. For another, it destroyed the roads, none of which were built to carry hundreds of tanks, tractors, heavily loaded trucks, guns, etc. As to the dirt roads, designed for peasant carts, sending one panzer regiment out to follow one meant after they had passed, there was no road at all. Their fuel trucks, schutzen, artillery, ammo, bread... had a hard time following. The Red Army again played a roll. Though they ran up a terrible record in 1941 for blowing major bridges, they did just fine on the small ones, and every culvert that ran under a road too. Putting 1,000 kgs of TNT under a road with a three day delay fuse can be a real drag too if you're trying to use the road. There are lots and lots of rivers and marshes west of Moscow. Everywhere a road crossed one, you had a low point. Blow the bridge and the vehicles will try to ford. Send enough heavy vehicles over this way and you have one magnificent mud wallow.

3) The logistics. As Halder put it, even after the war in an interview, "The material must be the servant of the spiritual; this means the problems of the quartermaster corps may never interfere with the operational plan." It could be engraved on the tombstone of the Wehrmacht. Fact - at the beginning of Typhoon, there was enough fuel to reach Vyazma. No more. It had been impossible to stockpile. More to the point, during the battle (I have the supply records of 4th Army), most days the amount they received from the Reich was... zero. On one or two days they got fuel delivered to the dumps around Roslavl. True, pushing it forwards, through the traffic jams, was no joy and could take a week. But the bottom line was there was little or no fuel to push forwards. Food and ammo were also very tight (ammo less than food). In some cases, threadbare panzer divisions screaming for infantry relief had to demur when offered reinforcements. I've come across at least two instances when the infantry were warned not to come forwards, because it was impossible to feed the troops already at the front. Many divisions complained of no bread for a week...

The problem was the Red Army was supposed to collapse, as it was supposed to have done on the frontier. But it didn't. By the middle of the 3rd week in October, only 3 days after the Vyazma Pocket was declared liquidated, the Red Army launched a 3-army counterstroke that chewed up XXXXI Motorized Corps and left it hors de combat. Zhukov landed another counterstroke, albeit a weak one, in the fourth week of October on both the Moscow Highway and the Roslavl-Podolsk road that smashed four German infantry divisions and a panzer division, cut off 10th PzD on its drive north to Skirmanovo.

Someone above asked how Rotmistrov made his run to Torzhok. Simple. He had one tank brigade, with augmented repair assets, and was driving down a paved road (one of few). So he really made time.

Finally, on 1 Nov, Zhukov submitted a report to the Stavka. In it he detailed the German's condition, identified most of the enemy divisions facing him, and declared that the enemy would not be able to resume operations for two weeks, during which time he would have to bring up supplies, rebuild and reorganize some of his shattered formations, and bring up reinforcements. He got the time correct to the day. But what is interesting is what he did not mention. Every German memoir and KTB talks of how they need to wait for the Frost (always capitalized), if only the Frost would come, then, on to Moscow!! (It behooves one to be thoughtful in what you ask for.) At times Soviet reports speak of how nearly impassable the dirt roads were to motorized traffic (this after 19th Oct, when the rain began for serious and things did indeed get muddy.) But Zhukov makes no mention whatsoever about the weather, nor does he assign it any significance in determining when the Germans would resume. He identifies their problem as having a shattered spearhead, and being out of supplies.

German memoirs, and official reports, tend to be heavy on the excuses, all of which are attributable to factors over which they had no control. They successfully threw mud in they eyes of history. But if anyone had bothered to read their actual records, they would find all the material I cite above about roads collapsing under the weight of the German columns, the lack of roads, the lack of supplies, the traffic and lack of traffic discipline, the numerous blown bridges and their effects, , the fierce resistance of the Red Army and the horrendous casualties they had taken. Its all there, along with the daily weather and road condition reports. Pity most historians never really looked, since they already KNEW THE TRUTH!! It was the MUD!! It must have been.... but it wasn't...

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Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Max Payload » 20 Mar 2018 11:45

Thanks for your post. Very interesting.
As someone who has not made a study of AGC documents, I can only comment as follows
A chewed up dirt road is still a rutted road. A chewed up dirt road plus a couple of hundred millimetres of rain is a quagmire. A dry field is reasonably passable to infantry, tracked vehicles and, to a degree, wheeled vehicles. A waterlogged field at the very least slows down such movement quite considerably. The second sentence of your post stated unequivocally, "Mud was a factor." I agree. It was a factor in limiting the rate of advance from Vyazma/Briansk to the Mozhaisk line and beyond. It was a factor in constraining the the direction of advance to predictable routes along which the Red Army could concentrate its limited resources. It was a factor in preventing AGC from rapidly circumventing blocking positions. It was a factor in exacerbating an already chronic logistical situation.
I'm not sure any serious historian claimed that to the exclusion of all else, "It was the MUD!!"
Neither I am sure it was the relatively insignificant factor that you seem to imply.

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