At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
ljadw
Member
Posts: 10497
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 10 Oct 2020 15:10

There is no proof that a rapid,single thrust occupation of Moscow was possible . The Soviet forces before Moscow were still undefeated .Tanks do not occupy a city .
There is also no proof that the fall of Moscow would result in the defeat of the Red Army . Much more likely is the opposite : the defeat of the Red Army would result in the fall of Moscow .
Besides, PzGr Guderian was much too weak to be able to occupy Moscow,it would need the help of the ID of von Kluge .See the figures given by Stahel .

PanzerModeler
Member
Posts: 24
Joined: 18 Jun 2020 00:44
Location: USA

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by PanzerModeler » 10 Oct 2020 16:48

December 11th 1941.

Invading the Soviet Union was probably not a good idea, but war between the two was most likely inevitable after all. Like the prior poster mentions, there's no proof that a rapid single thrust to take Moscow was possible, and the occupation of Moscow was not a guarantee that the Red Army would stop fighting. But I don't think it was really the last nail in the coffin and I don't think the winter of 1941 was the big defeat either.

1942 started off with Rzhev, Demyansk, Kharkov, Voronezh...I can't imagine the Russians felt very confident when every major battle they fought for the first half of 42 wound up with their own hand being fed into the meat grinder. Had there been some smarter plays made, maybe the winter of 1942 and Stalingrad wouldn't have been as disastrous. Yes, the tide turned, and it was increasingly downhill for the Axis from there, but I think by then many factors were at play.

If I had to pick one point in time to say "Oh hey look, Germany just lost the war!" it would be December 11th 1941.

Declaring war on the United States sealed their fate. In that moment they opened the floodgates of Lend-Lease, daylight bombing, the closing of the mid-Atlantic gap, American mass production, etc. That one moment brought the whole team of Allies together. The British had been at war against Germany, learning and developing, since 1939, and had an advantageous position for launching attacks on Germany itself from the west. The Soviet Union had the political will and ability to absorb human casualties on a scale that none of the other Allies had, and they had the manpower reserves to accept and replace those casualties. The United States had access to raw material and to the production capacity to produce almost anything that the Allies wanted, to make it stupid fast, and to make as many as you wanted without limits.

At that point, it was only a matter of time.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10497
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 11 Oct 2020 09:17

I have to disagree on December 11 :
War with the US was much more likely than war with the USSR .The Germans expected such a war before 1943 ,LL was already going on before December 11 , and became important only in 1943 .
And, I doubt that an active US intervention was needed to defeat the Germans ( I know that this is a sacrilege in the US ).I doubt also that an active Soviet intervention was needed to defeat the Germans ( I know that this is a sacrilege in Russia ) .
Germany planned to defeat the USSR in a short and quick campaign,because it knew/it was convinced that this was the only way to defeat the Soviets . The logical conclusion would be that Germany lost the war in the East in the Summer of 1941, but NOT that Germany lost WWII in the Summer of 1941 ,because defeat of the USSR would not result in a German victory against the US and Britain .

mezsat2
Member
Posts: 116
Joined: 05 Jun 2009 12:02

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by mezsat2 » 14 Oct 2020 12:36

ljadw wrote:
10 Oct 2020 15:10
There is no proof that a rapid,single thrust occupation of Moscow was possible . The Soviet forces before Moscow were still undefeated .Tanks do not occupy a city .
There is also no proof that the fall of Moscow would result in the defeat of the Red Army . Much more likely is the opposite : the defeat of the Red Army would result in the fall of Moscow .
Besides, PzGr Guderian was much too weak to be able to occupy Moscow,it would need the help of the ID of von Kluge .See the figures given by Stahel .
There is no proof, obviously, but it was highly likely the Ostheer could certainly have occupied Moscow in September with a focused, single thrust in August/Sep. Remember, in the good going in summer, the German army still had a great deal of mobile formations (including cavalry). It wouldn't have been just tanks marching on Moscow.

Yes, there were large Soviet forces in the Ukraine, but again, they were weak in terms of equipment, communications, and most critically, air cover and mobility. It would be difficult for them to mount a large flanking counterattack on foot with no air support. In other words, they could have been dealt with in Spring 1942.

Hell, half these men were Ukrainian and hated Stalin, anyway. Hitler could have put them in Feldgrau and they'd have probably fought like savages for him.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10497
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 14 Oct 2020 18:02

mezsat2 wrote:
14 Oct 2020 12:36
ljadw wrote:
10 Oct 2020 15:10
There is no proof that a rapid,single thrust occupation of Moscow was possible . The Soviet forces before Moscow were still undefeated .Tanks do not occupy a city .
There is also no proof that the fall of Moscow would result in the defeat of the Red Army . Much more likely is the opposite : the defeat of the Red Army would result in the fall of Moscow .
Besides, PzGr Guderian was much too weak to be able to occupy Moscow,it would need the help of the ID of von Kluge .See the figures given by Stahel .
There is no proof, obviously, but it was highly likely the Ostheer could certainly have occupied Moscow in September with a focused, single thrust in August/Sep. Remember, in the good going in summer, the German army still had a great deal of mobile formations (including cavalry). It wouldn't have been just tanks marching on Moscow.

Yes, there were large Soviet forces in the Ukraine, but again, they were weak in terms of equipment, communications, and most critically, air cover and mobility. It would be difficult for them to mount a large flanking counterattack on foot with no air support. In other words, they could have been dealt with in Spring 1942.

Hell, half these men were Ukrainian and hated Stalin, anyway. Hitler could have put them in Feldgrau and they'd have probably fought like savages for him.
This is starting from the old traditional POV that everything was going well for the Germans and that they needed only one last push to conquer Moscow and that the fall of Moscow would result in the fall of the USSR, but that the Bohemian corporal refused this .
The truth is that at the start of August the whole concept of Barbarossa had failed : after 6 weeks of fighting the Soviets should, following the Barbarossa planners ,be on the run and the only thing the Ostheer would have to do was to clean up the whole thing .
Reality was totally different : Barbarossa had failed and the Soviets counterattacked from Leningrad to the Black Sea, while the Ostheer was totally exhausted and forced to the defensive .
Some examples (From Stahel's Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East ) :
P 316 : Combat readiness of PzGr 2 on July 29 1941 : 29% .Its number of tanks was going down from 953 on June 22 to 286 on July 29 .
39 Corps had only 40 % left .
PzGr 3 : Combat readiness 42 % (P 282 ) .
There are no figures for the ID ( which is a big shortcoming of Stahel ) , but these divisions also were very weakened .
At the end of July, the Ostheer had lost some thousand tanks,7000 trucks, 5000 personal cars,200 anti tank guns and more than 200000 men,ammunition was almost exhausted:it would take weeks to resupply the Ostheer,and the supplies would not make good the losses .
And whatever may say and still repeat the Pz Lobby : an offensive would be impossible as long as the ID wouldnot have recovered, and if the offensive was successful ( which we can discard,as Typhoon failed ) ,it would take the Germans several weeks to advance to the East,as the mobile units could advance only at the speed of the infantry .
And, than, The Soviets would always have different choices :
to defend Moscow west of the city
to give up the city and build a new defense line east of Moscow
to make from Moscow a Stalingrad avant la lettre .
And as Moscow was bigger than Stalingrad,it would take the Germans months to conquer Moscow ( IF they could ) and, the Soviets would still continue the war .
The success of Typhoon a month earlier would depend totally on the Soviets : if they suddenly raised both arms,shouting death to Stalin, the war was won :but they did it not in October/November, thus why would they do it in September .

mezsat2
Member
Posts: 116
Joined: 05 Jun 2009 12:02

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by mezsat2 » 21 Oct 2020 19:14

ljadw wrote:
14 Oct 2020 18:02
mezsat2 wrote:
14 Oct 2020 12:36
ljadw wrote:
10 Oct 2020 15:10
There is no proof that a rapid,single thrust occupation of Moscow was possible . The Soviet forces before Moscow were still undefeated .Tanks do not occupy a city .
There is also no proof that the fall of Moscow would result in the defeat of the Red Army . Much more likely is the opposite : the defeat of the Red Army would result in the fall of Moscow .
Besides, PzGr Guderian was much too weak to be able to occupy Moscow,it would need the help of the ID of von Kluge .See the figures given by Stahel .
There is no proof, obviously, but it was highly likely the Ostheer could certainly have occupied Moscow in September with a focused, single thrust in August/Sep. Remember, in the good going in summer, the German army still had a great deal of mobile formations (including cavalry). It wouldn't have been just tanks marching on Moscow.

Yes, there were large Soviet forces in the Ukraine, but again, they were weak in terms of equipment, communications, and most critically, air cover and mobility. It would be difficult for them to mount a large flanking counterattack on foot with no air support. In other words, they could have been dealt with in Spring 1942.

Hell, half these men were Ukrainian and hated Stalin, anyway. Hitler could have put them in Feldgrau and they'd have probably fought like savages for him.
This is starting from the old traditional POV that everything was going well for the Germans and that they needed only one last push to conquer Moscow and that the fall of Moscow would result in the fall of the USSR, but that the Bohemian corporal refused this .
The truth is that at the start of August the whole concept of Barbarossa had failed : after 6 weeks of fighting the Soviets should, following the Barbarossa planners ,be on the run and the only thing the Ostheer would have to do was to clean up the whole thing .
Reality was totally different : Barbarossa had failed and the Soviets counterattacked from Leningrad to the Black Sea, while the Ostheer was totally exhausted and forced to the defensive .
Some examples (From Stahel's Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East ) :
P 316 : Combat readiness of PzGr 2 on July 29 1941 : 29% .Its number of tanks was going down from 953 on June 22 to 286 on July 29 .
39 Corps had only 40 % left .
PzGr 3 : Combat readiness 42 % (P 282 ) .
There are no figures for the ID ( which is a big shortcoming of Stahel ) , but these divisions also were very weakened .
At the end of July, the Ostheer had lost some thousand tanks,7000 trucks, 5000 personal cars,200 anti tank guns and more than 200000 men,ammunition was almost exhausted:it would take weeks to resupply the Ostheer,and the supplies would not make good the losses .
And whatever may say and still repeat the Pz Lobby : an offensive would be impossible as long as the ID wouldnot have recovered, and if the offensive was successful ( which we can discard,as Typhoon failed ) ,it would take the Germans several weeks to advance to the East,as the mobile units could advance only at the speed of the infantry .
And, than, The Soviets would always have different choices :
to defend Moscow west of the city
to give up the city and build a new defense line east of Moscow
to make from Moscow a Stalingrad avant la lettre .
And as Moscow was bigger than Stalingrad,it would take the Germans months to conquer Moscow ( IF they could ) and, the Soviets would still continue the war .
The success of Typhoon a month earlier would depend totally on the Soviets : if they suddenly raised both arms,shouting death to Stalin, the war was won :but they did it not in October/November, thus why would they do it in September .
One look at the Soviet transportation grid in June 41 shows clearly how an all-out strike and occupation of this hub would paralyze the entire existence of the USSR. Large scale evacuation of heavy industry and equipment to the east (which in view of the eastern front only, doomed the Wehrmacht) would be impossible. Anything like rapid troop deployment and communications with these formations would likewise be impossible.

Yes, Stalin could have retreated to Kuibyshev with the rest of the government and ultimately all the way to Vladivostok had he seen fit, but to organize and execute an organized defense under these chaotic conditions, one must admit, would be a daunting task.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10497
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 21 Oct 2020 21:06

The evacuation of heavy industry and equipment to the east was not depending on the railway stations of Moscow,besides, a lot of it was already evacuated before Moscow could be occupied .
And, the importance of the evacuation was much exaggerated by postwar Western historians,as already before 1941 a big part of the heavy industry was located east of Moscow .
The fact remains that a conquest of Moscow would take a lot of time and absorb that many forces (at least 40 divisions ) that the advance to the east would be stopped .
If Moscow was not conquered, the Germans would still be faced with a strong Soviet force in their rearguard .
Last point: the relocation of the industry to the east started already BEFORE June 1941.
And about Moscow :only a third of the factories who were going to the east in 1941( = 498 ) were located in the Moscow region,and only of them can one say that they used the Moscow railways .There is no proof that the 550 factories who were leaving Ukraine for the east were making a detour via Moscow .
The evacuation was important, but not decisive : Second Baku and Magnitogorsk existed already before the war .

Return to “German Strategy & General German Military Discussion”