Germany winning on the Eastern Front

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Provenzano
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Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Provenzano » 10 May 2013 05:12

I wanted to make a forum post discussing what Hitler could have done in order to win the Eastern front, if he could've won on the Eastern front at all. So I did. (Sorry if a similar post has been posted before)

In my opinion, if Hitler listened to his generals and pushed all the way onto Moscow, successfully captures it and then proceed to swing around North and South to divide Russia into different parts will have probably won the Eastern front.

Also I think Hitler should've focused more on bombing/destroying Russian industries. I read on the book 'Stalingrad, the Fateful Siege' by Anthony Beevor that at some point in 1942, some member of the OKW or a German general informed Hitler that Soviet Union was producing more than 1,100 tanks a month (Germany was only producing 500 a month), despite the complete destruction of most western Soviet Union industrial centers (e.g. Kiev). Hitler in response, banged his hand on the table and yelled "IMPOSSIBRU." In fact, Soviet Union was producing an average of more than 2000 tanks a month and most of them are T-34s, which is superior to vitually all German fighting vehicles at this time. Except for maybe the panzer IV, but I'm not sure if when the panzer IV received its long 7.5 cm gun upgrade. Anyways yeah, at this rate of more than 4:1 production ratio, no matter how many German tank aces Stalin will create by producing so many great T-34s with its lackluster crews, German panzers are seriously likely to get their butt spanked if Germany don't put some more pressure on Soviet production.

Maddii
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Maddii » 10 May 2013 22:20

Reinforcing the northern and southern flanks of heeresgruppe B during Stalingrad could have changed alot and maybe even allowed the wehrmacht to capture stalingrad.
Mathias from Denmark

aghart
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by aghart » 23 May 2013 18:29

Provenzano wrote:


Also I think Hitler should've focused more on bombing/destroying Russian industries.

His problem there is that his airforce was a "tactical" airforce, designed to support the army. It was not equipped to act as a "strategic" force. His twin engined bombers were not capable of doing this.

sebas379
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by sebas379 » 12 Jun 2013 20:36

Bombing the Russian industry? You mean all those factories they evacuated to the Urals? they were well out of reach of the Luftwaffe.
I think they lost the war in the east before they invaded.

An attack in 3 directions, splitting your forces up to a level where they cant help each other when needed was the first problem.
Then, when the march on Moscow in autumn 1941 got slowed down, Hitler ordered Guderian and his tanks away from the push to destroy other Russian formations. Granted, if left alone they could have threatened the German flank, but it slowed the push to Moscow.
The army wasn't equipped for a long war, for example they didn't bring winter equipment until well into the winter season.

It was a do or die invasion based on the assumption that they would only have to kick down the door and the whole rotten structure would have come down. they based their assumptions regarding the Red Army on the Winter War with Finland and failed to see the improvements the Russians started to make after that.

Despite the German tactical and strategical superiority, it was too much of a gamble from the get go.
There were no provisions for a prolonged war. It all had to be done in one campaigning season or the momentum would be lost.

The Red Army was virtually wiped out in the first months, but by the time of the Battle of Moscow, they had raised a new one. Yes, things were desperate (think for example about the volunteer divisions fighting near Moscow) but they held. Once the Soviet counterattack around Moscow was launched and the Wehrmacht was thrown back hundreds of kilometers there, they should've realised they were beaten. The German army was losing the best of it's troops whereas the Russians were getting better and better trained etc.

paspartoo
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by paspartoo » 14 Jun 2013 20:33

Provenzano wrote:I wanted to make a forum post discussing what Hitler could have done in order to win the Eastern front, if he could've won on the Eastern front at all. So I did. (Sorry if a similar post has been posted before)
Not fight a two front war. That would probably solve it. :wink:
A simple economist with an unhealthy interest in military and intelligence history.....
http://chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 14 Jun 2013 21:44

I am curious to know why people always want to know what Hitler cold have done to win on the eastern front;some times, I think that a lot of people still are thinking that the German defeat was an anomaly,that normally the Germans had to win .

Whatever,with hindsight(why not,) the Germans had no chance,without hindsight,they had a very small chance (very small) : all was depending on the Soviets,and,the only thing they could hope,was the appearance of a Deus ex Machina :the Politbureau boys killing each other,follwed by a new civil war ,because,with the forces they had gathered,it was impssible to defeat the SU .

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Adibach
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Adibach » 17 Jun 2013 04:04

Hitler lost the Eastern front,because he didnt take England in 1940..

jpablodz
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by jpablodz » 22 Jun 2013 23:49

From a strategic standpoint, invading the USSR was Hitler´s only option for settling the war in Europe after failing to bomb Britain into submission and canceling Sea Lion. In fact, Stalin was planning to attack Germany and when Hitler preempted him, he had a meltdown and disappeared from the scene for a few weeks. Once Germany had committed to invading the USSR, invading the Balkans and Greece took some valuable summer time away from the Wehrmacht when the campaign began. After the invasion was underway, operational and tactical decisions such as moving the panzer groups of Army Group Center to the wings and then back caused the final push on Moscow to begin on the very late date of Oct 2 (Guderian kicked off on Sept 30). Even so, the Germans continued to push forward and some troops even reported having seen the spires of the Kremlin. In the first week of December, the Russians counterattacked at the gates of Moscow with troops they brought in from Siberia after spies confirmed Japan would take no action against Stalin in the Far East- To top it all off, Hitler committed the strategic blunder of declaring war on the US after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

bam
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by bam » 25 Jun 2013 17:50

I have wondered about this for 20+ yrs! I have recently had an insight concerning the Russian troops morale. When Barbarossa started, Russian troops surrendered in droves. The average Russian grunt was very badly treated by officers and especially commissars. Once the retreats began in July, the troops were very disorganised, lacking leaders, lacking ammo, and most of all lacking food. This made the decision to surrender much easier.
Luckily, the Germans were so completely arrogant in their belief of their intrinsic superiority over the subhuman Slavs, that they treated the Russian POWs awfully. The word awful doesn't do justice...they treated the POWs in a psychopathic manner. We westerners moan about the way the japs treated our POWs, but the treatment of the Russians was much much worse. Put simply, there was no German plan to deal with them. The POWs were just marched to the rear, without any food, water or medical care. Any who couldn't march were shot. They were kept outside in the open in fields surrounded by barbed wire. The guards would torment & kill them for fun! There were very few instances of humane treatment. In 1941, about 4 million Russian troops became POWs. About 3 million died by Jan 42.
Now, a few POWs managed to escape and get back to the Russian lines. Their reports, along with reports from civilians, of the starvation cages and savage treatment, completely changed the attitude of the Russians about surrender. By Oct 41, most Russians knew surrender was a virtual death sentence. The soviet propaganda exploited this too.
So by the time of the advance on Moscow, op. typhoon in Oct 41, the behaviour of the Russians changed. Their were 2 large groupings of Russians surrounded in Vyasma and Briansk by 7 Oct, but instead of surrendering quickly, as their comrades had done when surrounded in July / August, the cut off troops fought on , tried to break out east, and this forced the Germans to divert a lot of infantry to slowly clear the pockets. This took a couple of weeks, critical weeks, when there were virtually no Russian forces between Army Group Centre and Moscow. Stalin was on the verge of evacuating Moscow on 15/16 Oct. if the Germans had been able to continue their typhoon advance soon after the closure of the Vyasma pocket, they could have got to Moscow virtually unopposed before significant reinforcements from Siberia could arrive. The extra 10-14 day delay, caused by the surrounded troops fighting on, was what saved Moscow. Now whether the fall of Moscow in Oct 41 would have meant German victory, that's another debate. But virtually no country that has lost it's capital city in a war has gone on to win.
So my simple insight into how could the Germans have won is this: they could have if all they had done was provide food and shelter for the Russians. If the Germans had advanced with loud speakers announcing "russkis, come over here for a warm meal and we will release you as soon as the Bolsheviks are beaten", I think that might have caused the whole rotten soviet structure to collapse.
Last edited by bam on 26 Jun 2013 00:12, edited 1 time in total.

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 25 Jun 2013 18:44

A good story,but,sadly ,for you :wink: ,totally wrong : there were no Soviet mass surrenderings,but a lot of POW,and a lot of casualties on German side .

june : German casualties :41000 (for 10 days) ,Soviet POW :112000

july :German casualties : 167000,Soviet POW:701000

august: German casualties :196000,Soviet POW :698000

september:German casualties:141000,Soviet POW:997000

october:German casualties : 115000,Soviet POW :1.037.000

november:German casualties:87000,Soviet POW :291000

december:78000,Soviet POW :75000


And,the German figures of Soviet POW were much to high:at the end of 1941,the Germans declared that the number was 500000 to high .

There was nothing rotten in the Soviet structure:from the start on,the Soviets were fighting,fanatically,as was admitting Halder .

bam
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by bam » 25 Jun 2013 19:48

Thanks for the very interesting figures; where are they from? The figure of POWs for October does surprise me; I hadnt heard that Oct was the month with the most captives. Your figures dont tell us when the POWs were surrounded; maybe the large Oct figures include many of the Sept Kiev troops who were only counted by Oct? Or maybe they were hiding for a few weeks until starvation & exposure forced their capitulation. The kessel battles of July & Sept were on a much greater scale than those of Oct; thats a fact isn't it? so i think theres more nuance to your figures than the simple numbers.
The raw POW figures dont tell us anything about how they surrendered; quickly or after holding out for as long as possible etc. And Your numbers concur with mine: roughly 4,000,000 taken in 41.
The russians fought differently in different places; some fought to the bitter end from the start in JUne, while others surrendered quite quickly. Those in the Brest citadel fought on until wiped out after a long battle, while the troops on either side of Brest were quickly overrun & captured. Those in the Kiev pocket in September made frantic efforts to escape eastwards. But when faced with panzers and stukas, when their command system broke down, most surrendered in large groups of 1000's. By October, I have read German accounts of the fighting in Vyasma which mention the change in attitude of surrounded troops. Many small groups, cut off and without orders or leaders, fought on and on, and wouldnt surrender even when offered the chance.
And your figures dont refute my thesis; if the germans had advanced with soup kitchens and loudspeakers promising release from Bolshevism, this would have yielded quicker advances than 100's of panzers! How can you say "There was nothing rotten in the Soviet structure"? I think it is reasonable to say that soviet citizens lived in fear of the state security organs. In the army, the fear was even greater after the purges. Russian officers treated ordinary soldiers with great physical brutality. The personal Rations were varied but mostly bad, as much food was diverted by corrupt officials. Though the cult of personality around Stalin had suckered most Russians, I think that clever German propaganda, aiming at driving a wedge between the ordinary soldiers and their harsh leaders, would have caused far greater desertions, and opened gaps around staunch russian units that the germans could have driven thru unopposed. In fact, there was no serious organised attempt by german units to encourage mass desertions; just a few aerial drops of leaflets. I think the germans really missed a trick.

nota
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by nota » 25 Jun 2013 20:24

bam close

nazi's lost because nazi's do not play well with others

they had enough russian POWs
BUT did not really use them
mostly starved them or let them freeze

I agree the russian POW manpower was a key missed to win

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 25 Jun 2013 20:40

The figures are from "Va-Banque" PP 70 and 73 (by H.Schustereit) with as source the German military archives in Freiburg (BA-MA) .And,no,there was nothing rotten in the SU ,meaning that the SU never was collapsing :there were no mass surrenderings on the east front (excepted some isolated cases in the Baltics) .

In june,there were 275 Soviet POW for 100 German casualties,in july 420,in august 356,in september 700,in october 9OO,in november 334.
The Germans hoped that suddenly,at day X,the Red Army would collaps,as in 1917/18 (after 3 years of war),that every one would go home :but,this never happened .
About the influence of the bad treatment of the Soviet POW:this was common knowledge in october,more than in july,but,in october,900 POW were taken for 100 casualties on German side,in july "only" 420,a,d,in october,the Germans lost 114000 soldiers,while there were no German stories about the Soviets running away,deserting,surrendering ...

The conclusion is that during Barbarossa (and later),a lot of Soviets were taken prisonners in big battles,but that no one was running away .

bam
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by bam » 25 Jun 2013 21:18

thanks for the reference. I still question the figures, especially the 1037,000 taken in Oct...where were 1000,000 soviet soldiers surrounded in October? The main Kessels in Oct, Vyasma & Briansk, surrounded 600,000 ish, and only about half became POWs. So your figures suggest that about 5-700,000 other soldiers surrendered in Oct....where? There was a small kessel near Rostov at Chernigova from 5-10 Oct, but that yielded less than 70,000. There are no accounts of hundreds of thousands of POWs coming after Vyasma/Briansk. There werent hundreds of thousands of troops left on the Moscow axis. So, theres more explanation needed as to where this October 1,037,000 came from. I humbly suggest the figure was compiled late, and includes the Kiev POWs. As there was no systematic apparatus for collecting and looking after them, and therefore counting POWs, I'd say the figures are VERY questionable.
Last edited by bam on 25 Jun 2013 22:16, edited 1 time in total.

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 25 Jun 2013 21:29

My figures do not suggest that 700000 other Soviet soldiers SURRENDERED in october,but they are indicating that 700000 other soldiers were taken POW in october .

From 21/30 september :550.961

From 1 /10 october :288.485

From 11/20 october:499.476

From 21/31 october:249.817


Of course,these figures are to high,but,they were also to high in the previous months .

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