Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
Forum Staff
Posts: 7042
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 16 Oct 2021 09:43

A Soviet map showing disposition of German and Romanian forces on the Eastern Front on 22.6.41:

From this map we have the follwoing distribution of the German forces:

Northern army group: total 20 infantry, 5 motorized, 4-5 tank divisions (total 29-30), 7 cavalry regiments, of them:
- in the first line (at the border) - 14-15 infantry, 5 motorized, 3 tank division, 2 cavalry brigades, 3 tank regiments, 2 cavalry regiments
- in reserve (Königsberg, Allenstein) - 5 infantry division, 2 tank regiments, 1 motorized and 1 cavalry regiment

Central army group: 25 infantry, 1 motorized, 4 tank, 1 cavalry divisions (total 31), 8 cavalry regiments, of them:
- in the first line - 14 infantry, 1 motorized division, 1 tank brigade, 2 motorized, 3 tank and 8 cavalry regiments (total 15-17 divisions)
- in reserve (Warsaw, Łódź, Kalisz) - 11 infantry, 2 tank and 1 cavalry division (total 14)

Southern army group: 37 infantry, 5 motorized, 6 tank divisions (total 48), of them:
- in the first line - 23 infantry, 3 motorized, 4 tank divisions (total 30), 1 motorized and 1 cavalry regiment
- in the second line (behind Vistula) - 14 infantry, 2 motorized, 2 tank divisions (total 18), a motorized and a cavalry regiment

Reserves behind the army groups:
- 6 infantry divisions at Danzig, Thorn, Poznan
- 4 divisions at Breslau, Moravska Ostrava

Slovakia - 7 divisions
Transcarpathia - 6-8 divisions

12 German infantry, 11 motorized, 4 tank, 1 mountain divisions (total 28). Of them:
- at the border - 6 infantry, 7 motorized, 1 mountain, 2 tank division (total 16)
- in reserve (deep in Romania) - 6 infantry, 4 motorized, 2 tank divisions (total 12)
Addtitional 9 German infantry and 2 tank divisions arriving from Bulgaria are expected.
22 Romanian infantry and 4 cavalry divisions, 4 mountain, 1 cavalry, 2 motorized, 2 fortification brigades. Additional 15-17 divisions are expected to be raised at mobilization.

I would appear from this distribution that up to 40% of the strength of the central and southern army groups (and also the German group in Romania) was in reserve and needed at least several days for deployment to the border. Also the axis Warsaw-Białystok looked like a schwerpunkt of the central army group (in reality it wasn't).

Forum Staff
Posts: 7042
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 16 Oct 2021 13:59

For comparison, an assesment from the opening part of the Directive No.3 from the evening of 22 June 1941:
The opponent, while derlivering strikes from the Suwalki salient to Alitus and from the region of Zamość on the front Vladimir-Volynsk, Radzekhuv and auxiliary strikes on the directions Tilsit, Šiauliai and Siedlce, Volkovysk, during the day of 22.06 suffered heavy losses and achieved limited success on the said directions. On other sections of the German border and along the entire state border with Romania all attacks of the opponent were repulsed with heavy losses.
While this assesment was overly optimistic, it mostly correctly identified three of four areas of German main effort:
- Tilsit-Šiauliai axis (Panzergruppe 4 and 18 Army)
- Suwalki-Alitus axis (Panzergruppe 3 and 9 Army)
- Vladimir-Volynsk, Radzekhuv sector (Panzergruppe 1 and 6 Army)
The exact forces operating in these regions were not cited. The wrong part was assesment of the strike along Tilsit, Šiauliai axis as secondary. In fact it was only marginally weaker than the other two. The most glaring mistake was idetification of a secondary schwerpunkt along the Siedlce-Volkovysk axis, while the strike of the PzGr 2 to the south of this sector was completly missed.

One can see some disagreement between the intelligence report No.1 and this directive. The reports indetifies the group at Tilsit as 6-7 divisions, including 2 motorized and 1 tank and the group at Suwalki as 7 divisions, including 2 motorized and 2 tank, in other words of approximately equal strength. However, the directive sees the group at Suwalki as making the main effort, and the group at Tilsit - as auxiliary. The directive expects the main attack of the Suwalki group due to the east to Alitus, whereas the report sees its main effort directed to the south to Grodno. It is unclear if it was a result of difference of personal views and an experience gain during the firs day of the war. It does seem that some assesments laid down in the directive were based on hunch rather than on hard intelligence data.

Forum Staff
Posts: 7042
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Soviet intelligence on 22.6.41

Post by Art » 18 Dec 2021 16:19

In his report summarizing conclusions from the Soviet-Finnish War marshal Voroshilov wrote that:
We don't have of have little intelligence as an organ servicing and supplying the General Staff with all the requisite data about our neighbours and probable opponents, their armies, armaments, plans and operating as eyes and ears of our army during the war.
Several weeks later this assesment was repeated when Timoshenko replaced Voroshilov as a Commissar for Defense:
The question of organization of intelligence is the most weak part in the work of the Commissariate for Defense. There is no organized intelligence and delivery of data about foreign armies. Detachment of intelligence from the General Staff and its direct subordination to the People's Commissar resulted to weak control of intelligence service.
The Commissariate for Defense doesn't have in its Intelligence Administration an organ supplying the Red Army with information about organization, state, armament, training and deployment of foreign armies.
So, the failure in the intelligence field was obvious.

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”