Is a Blitzkrieg victory actually possible agnst a big countr

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Ken
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Is a Blitzkrieg victory actually possible agnst a big countr

Post by Ken » 25 Mar 2002 22:01

Okay.. I ran out of space..

the question was:

Is a blitzkrieg victory actually possible against a big country?

For example.. When the Nazis invaded the USSR, they hoped for a political upheaval that would make the whole country fall apart. Nazi armaments production actually went down in anticipation of a blitzkrieg victory over the Soviet Union. However, that did not happen, and the Soviets continued fighting.

Now, my questions is: Could Germany have won a blitzkrieg victory over the Soviet Union (in less than 6 months)?

Or since the Soviet Union was quite large, Germany had to engage in a long-term war with the USSR in order to achieve victory?

(Victory here would be defined as the fall of the government and surrender of the army. Just taking lots of Soviet land while the USSR is still intact is not victory.)

What about German-U.S?

What do you think?

Oskar
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Post by Oskar » 26 Mar 2002 01:10

I can't recall who wrote the following quote, though I believe it was Churchill;

"In the West, the armies were too big for the country. In the East, the country was too big for the armies."

A Blitzkrieg victory would not have been possible against the SU precisely because the Soviets were willing to sacrifice much more than many had anticipated they would. Added to this is the size of the country. Given their large size, they will have an abundance of natural and mineral resources which a small nation will more often than not, lack. Furthermore, the large size will allow them to withdraw and redeploy its units according to the need. Having a large territory gives a country more time to reorganize, catch its breath and strike back (a luxury a small country lacks.

Now, the Germans probably could have accomplished the tactical goals they had set themselves for a six month period (the archangel Aztrahan [I think that's how you spell it] line), but the only way to defeat the SU would have been in a long, drawn out conflict so the Blitzkrieg strategy is defeated in this sense. Remember, Blitzkrieg was developed to deal a quick and decisive blow on the enemy, for Germany lacks the resources to sustain a prolonged war on its own.

The Russians were willing to fight to the last man and to the last inch of territory, therefore, even if Blitzkrieg proved successful at the tactical level, The SU could regroup, reorganize, and strike back later on. The ability to move in larger territorial areas and their willingness to sacrifice whatever was needed to ensure victory, means the SU would have prolonged the conflict. The long war would drain German resources and push it to the very edge, therefore becoming a strategic failure.

Best,

Oskar

IAR80
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re

Post by IAR80 » 26 Mar 2002 19:01

The germans came very close to winning the war in the east. What the Nazi war machine lacked was a long range bomber to finally break the russian war production.

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 27 Mar 2002 05:52

I prefer Churchill's quote :)

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 12 Apr 2002 22:46

Because Hitler hadnt ordered full war time production the attacking German armies did not have enough tanks, infact to increase the number of Panzer divisions, he reduced the number of sections in a division. Add to this the use of foreign tanks, and Hitlers ameaterish style interference compunded by the fact that almost the whole of the German staff wanted just a 2 way strike against Moscow and Leningrad means that the Germans could have won the war, if the country was behaving as it did in the Great war.

Oskar
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Modern day blitz

Post by Oskar » 14 Apr 2002 22:27

"The germans came very close to winning the war in the east. What the Nazi war machine lacked was a long range bomber to finally break the russian war production."

I disagree the Germans came close to winning in the East. zIf you define winning as taking Moscow, then yes they did, but if this happened, the Russians would have retreated even further and kept fighting.

I do agree the Germans lacked heavy bombers whichwould have helped them in achieving their goal.

Moving on to the question if whether a blitzkrieg tactic is possible now a days against a big country, well, supposing you define big as number of people, and supposing by big we are also dealing with a country that has more than 100 million people, then my answer is "Very doubtful if not impossible."

The world's 10 largest countries are China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Pakistan, Basngladesh, Japan and Nigeria, all of wjich have well over 100 million people today. A war by, say the US, against any of these countries would be a long, drawn out conflict. This is simply because they have a massive population from which to draft soldiers, almost on a continuous basis. Furthermore, these countries are able to mobilize their population with the resources they currently have to use the population factor to its fullest.

There is no way the US (or any major power) could conduct a blitzkrieg like offensive. That would entail taking risks they are not wiling to take, and even then results are not guaranteed. Hell, victory even if it was possible (which I doubt it), would certainly not be a foregone conclusion.

Best,

Oskar

Ovidius
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Post by Ovidius » 15 Apr 2002 00:38

A Blitzkrieg victory against the USSR was going to be possible if the following conditions were met:

1. Internal weakening of the Soviet regime resulting in unrest and disobedience(incidentally this happened 50 years later :? ?)

2. Support from the Soviet masses to the Germans(possible if Hitler would have tried to gain the sympathy of the Cossacks and other factions which were natural enemies of the regime; he was even advised - or at least rumors say so - to promise land to the millions of Soviet peasants); hardly possible after all, considering the innate mistrust of the Russian for everything and anyone from outside his country, and their centuries old quarrels with the Germans;

3. Lack of Lend-Lease;

4. Lack of the North African front(or at least involvement of only the Italians, with no German expenses);

5. Lack or containment of the bombings over Germany;

#1 and #2 were supposed to disorganize the Russian colossus and hinder the mobilization of manpower and resources.

#3, #4, and #5 were supposed to allow the Germans to concentrate their full strength only in Russia.

~Regards,

Ovidius

Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 15 Apr 2002 10:07

I believe that one of those massively outweighs the others, and that is Lend Lease.

I suspect that the Russian War effort would have nearly collapsed had it not been for American Lend Lease.

As for the German's achieving final victory against the Russians, I'd have to research the area in more detail.

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Huckebein
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Post by Huckebein » 15 Apr 2002 11:00

I am sorry Ovidius, but none of the conditions you mentioned have something to do with Blitzkrieg campaign/tactics. Reasons for loosing the war, maybe...

The most important quality of blitzkrieg is that it denies the use economic power as a weapon, so it is the only option for a smaller army/economy to fight a superior enemy force in a short and decisive campaign (production numbers, feelings towards the enemy, ... all of these need time to develop - an asset you don't have in a blitz war).

The failure of blitzkrieg in Russia was not caused by inherent flaws or the impossibility to adapt these tactics to the immense russian theatre of war. Instead this failure belongs entirely to the german High Command. The foot soldier was much more capable of doing a mobile war than it's superiors ever were. Even the logistics were corectly planned for the first stage of war in Russia. Problem was that none of the stages of the war in east can be named blietzkrieg. The high ranking german officers with known exceptions were not qualified to carry such a war, nor trusted it's qualities. The "Panzer Generals" were brought to the front just to produce "the miracle" once again. In rest of the time Germany fought a conventional war, from operational point of view, a war impossible to win due to lack of ressources (which eventually dried out in 1944).

As a parenthesis - what is blitzkrieg? . My short definition (of course you may not agree with it): rapid deployment of troops in enemy teritory with sole intent to deny the mobility and ability to resupply of the enemy forces. The result should be the capture of campaign objectives from easily to supply positions /enddef

Oskar
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Post by Oskar » 15 Apr 2002 19:24

"""2. Support from the Soviet masses to the Germans

3. Lack of Lend-Lease""""

I agree with both these arguments would have aided in Russia's downfall, but I have my doubts they would have contributed to a Blitzkrieg victory per se.

If Hitler had treated well the Ukranians and all the other Soviet citizens who had suffered under Stalin (instead of sending his einsatzgrupen on a killing spree, one of the main sources of opposition they had to face would not have been present. Ironically, Hitler made the very same mistake as Napoleon in 1812.

As for lend-lease, this too was a key factor. Russia probably would have collapsed (although I do not know that much about this particular subject to give a confident opinion on it), had it not been for American aid.

Oskar

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Thunderstruck
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Post by Thunderstruck » 16 Apr 2002 22:17

Don't forget that a vast majority of what the USSR had in the way of technology and industry was west of the Urals.

Had Germany been able to nail the Soviets to the cross within the first six months of Barbarossa then it would have been over, period.

The remains of the USSR could retreat to Siberia but they would not rebuild any time soon. There was virtually NOTHING east of the Urals to rebuild with. All the later war production done east of the Urals was started by MOVING factories and skilled people from the war zone to the east out of the German's range. Something that's is amazing in it's own right.

Lend Lease would not have mattered as it really hadn't started up that much during the first six months of Barbarossa. The Brits couldn't spare much as they were looking to save themselves too.

The idea of a quick, massive and resolute attack straight into the hearth of the USSR was a good idea, if you were planning to beat the USSR that is. It's the stupid changes, delays and missed chances that doomed it.

Steve

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