Soviet failure during Barbarossa

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Stiltzkin » 20 Oct 2018 04:57

Here is a recent summary, juxtaposing all views.

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Kelvin » 25 Oct 2018 04:24

Art wrote:
11 Sep 2018 22:08
Henri Winkelman wrote:
11 Sep 2018 19:50
Thanks for correcting the numbers, but still an almost ridiculous amount.
Not quite compared with the earlier campaigns:
Image

For comparison in their great offensive on the Eastern Front in 1915 German and Austro-Hungary captured about 1 million Russian POWs in 6 months and some 2.4 million in three years of war on the Eastern Front (1914-1917).
Hi, Art, do you have enlarged version of your chart ? Cannot click it larger. Thank

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by doogal » 08 Dec 2018 21:37

I think when talking about failure you have to be more specific.

In a strategic sense to the USSR the expenditure of men and material was acceptable owing to the failure of barbarossa. That the Germans were tactically superior in 1941 counted in the end for nothing.
Even with 3 million men surrendering it was not enough to cause a Soviet military collapse.

There are easy explanations for the supposed poor performance of soviet forces... they were deployed forward in hastily constructed positions, leaving well constructed positions in 1939 at the Stalin line... They had many obsolete armoured vehicles: lacked proper battlefield communications and had to adhere to an operational philosophy which was implemented owing to there being no other option under the circumstances...
But even with these problems they attacked and kept resisting where and when they could .... i think that 1941 was a steep learning curve for the Soviet military but it's tactical and operational failures go hand in hand with siezing the strategic initiative ....

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by doogal » 08 Dec 2018 22:03

It's also worth considering the pow's who being non Russian soviets were forced into the USSR socialist system. And who did not realise that they would be treated so poorly by the Germans. Which would explain why fighting to the bitter end was more common after this became clear ... This can be seen as prior to the emergence of the great patriotic war rhetoric which with German cruelty bound these people in a tighter form.

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Stiltzkin » 09 Dec 2018 02:27

In a strategic sense to the USSR the expenditure of men and material was acceptable owing to the failure of barbarossa
Even the Soviet reserves were not endless, I made a calculation to see how long the Soviets could have lasted. If the Axis powers could refill their strength once again to pre Barbarossa or Citadel levels, the Soviets might have not emerged victorious. You can change a few variables for conflicts, e.g. remove the effects of the Eastern Front steppes, the Thermopylae or the Vietnamese Jungle. Would the Soviets have still survived if they operated on the territory of the size of France? What if the USSR was fully developed? They would have never suffered such enormous casualties, on the operational level we can only speculate about the outcome.
There are easy explanations for the supposed poor performance of soviet forces... t

Was it really that poor? That is relative, as it is with all things, but I would argue that there was no substantial difference between 1941 and 44. Bureaucratic apparatuses do not change drastically in such a short amount of time.
In 1941 the RKKA performed better on the tactical level (German monthly losses are the same and higher in regards to numerical strength of their opponent and circumstantial factors), but their efforts did not translate into operational success.

Index (tactical performance in comparison to 1941, factoring in average quarterly front strength):
1941.....100
1942.....74
1943.....59
1944.....57

In both summer offensives of 1941 and 42 the Soviets failed, survived an offensive in 1943 and did not manage to destroy the Army Groups before Summer 44, which they already attempted in 1941. In 1944, after the war raged on for several years and started to show its impact, the Soviets started to commit more than 1,5-2 million men to large scale operations. They outlasted their enemy and achieved local to strategic superiority in strength.

1941 (committed to operations):
Defensive operation Lithuania/Latvia 22 June-9 July 1941: 498,000
Defensive operation in Belorussia 22 June-9 July 1941: 627,000
Defensive operation in Western Ukraine 22 June-6July 1941: 864,000
Kiev strategic defeniosve operation 7 July – 26 September 1941: 627,000
Leningrad strategic defensive operation 10 July-30 September 1941: 517,000
Battle of Smolensk 10 July-10 September 1941: 581,600
Donbass-Rostov strategic defensive operation 29 September-16 November 1941: 541,600
Moscow strategic defensive operation 30 September-5 December 1941: 1,250,000
Tikhvin strategic offensive operation 10 November-30 December 1941: 192,950
Rostov Strategic offensive operation 17 November- 2 December 1941: 349,000
Moscow strategic offensive operation 5 December 41 -7 January1942: 1,021,700

1942:
Rzhev-Vyazma strategic offensive operation 8 January-20 April 1942: 1,059,000
Voronesh-Voroshilovgrad strategic defensive operation 28 June-24 July 1942: 1,310,800
Stalingrad strategic defensive operation, 17 July-19 November 1942: 547,000
North Caucasus Strategic defensive operation 25 July-31 December 1942: 603,200
Stalingrad strategic offensive operation, 19 Nov-2Feb 42/43: 1,143,500

1943:
Voronesh-Kharkov strategic offensive operation, 13 Jan-3 March 1943: 502,400
Kharkov defensive operation, 4-25 March 1943: 345,900
Kursk strategic Defensive operation, 5-23 July 1943: 1,507,166
Orel strategic offensive operation: 1,287,600
Belgorod-Kharkov strategic offensive operation, 3-23 Aug 1943: 1,144,000
Smolensk Kharkov strategic offensive operation, 7 Aug-2 Oct 1943: 1,252,600
Donbass strategic offensive operation, 13 Aug-22 Sept 1943: 1,011,900
Chernigov-Poltava strategic offensive operation, 26 Aug-30 Sept 1943: 1,581,300
Lower Dniepr strategic offensive operation, 26 Sept-20 December 1943: 1,506,000

1944:
Dniepr-Carpathian strategic offensive operation, 24 Dec 1943-17 April 1944: 2,406,000
Leningrad-Novgorod strategic offensive operation, 14 Jan-1 Mar 1944: 822,100
Byelorussian strategic offensive operation, 23 June-29 Aug 1944: 2,400,000
Lvov-Sandomierz strategic offensive operation, 13 July-29 aug 1944: 1,002,200
Iassi-Kishinev strategic offensive operation, 20-29 Aug 1944: 1,314,200
Baltic strategic offensive operation, 14 September-24 November 1944: 1,546,400

The Allies/Soviets could call upon the vast manpower reserves inside their "cultural spheres", the Slavic populations for the USSR and GB with all of their former colonies (including USA). The Germanic sphere of power could not compete with that. Success does not always imply radically improved skills. All sides made mistakes, the Allies could afford more.
It's also worth considering the pow's who being non Russian soviets were forced into the USSR socialist system. And who did not realise that they would be treated so poorly by the Germans. Which would explain why fighting to the bitter end was more common after this became clear ... This can be seen as prior to the emergence of the great patriotic war rhetoric which with German cruelty bound these people in a tighter form.
That is why Germany was never able to extract large numbers of potential recruits out of the occupied territories (while controlling territories with a population of over 200 million) and the Muscovite propaganda machine was significantly superior (morally they were on the same level as the Nazis, yet the Western Republics decided to form an alliance).
they were deployed forward in hastily constructed positions
Defense is still the stronger form of combat, they had sufficient experience. Many out of their Staff personnel were Veterans of WW1 (technically this applies for all belligerents of WW1). Their forces conducted polygon/maneuvers before WW2 and some of them participated in the winter war and the border conflicts with the Japanese. Their military expenditures were the highest in the world relative to the Nazis. The Soviets survived Barbarossa, because they prepared for expansionistic campaigns since the 20s, possessed a favourable geostrategical location and vast manpower, which they could expend.
They had many obsolete armoured vehicles
The distribution of T-34 tanks amongst Divisions in the Mechanized Corps, as of June 1, 1941:

District, Division and Corps: Number of T-34s
Baltic special military district: 50
5th Tank Div., 3rd Mech. Corps: 50
Western Special district: 246
4th Tank Div., 6th Mech. Corps: 140
7th Tank Div., 6th Mech. Corps: 78
29th Tank Div., 11th Mech. Corps: 26
33th Tank Div., 11th Mech. Corps: 2
Kiev special military district: 494
8th Tank Div., 4th Mech. Corps: 140
32th Tank Div., 4th Mech. Corps : 173
12th Tank Div., 8th Mech. Corps : 100
10th Tank Div., 15th Mech. Corps: 38
37th Tank Div., 15th Mech. Corps: 34
43th Tank Div., 19th Mech. Corps: 2
Odessa: 50
16th Tank Div., 2th Mech. Corps: 50
To this can be added 530 KVs, concentrated in breakthrough units. 2,203 vehicles.
But even with these problems they attacked and kept resisting where and when they could
Everyone did, French forces were tactically superior to Soviet formations, while Polish and Norwegian performance was in the same range. One cannot diminish the effort of any combatant.
bound these people in a tighter form
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9cc6usXhwY
I would not be so sure, it is more of a choice between two evils.

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by doogal » 09 Dec 2018 10:28

doogal wrote - supposed poor performance


I did not suggest that Soviet forces were a failure the original poster did ....
stiltzkin wrote - if the axis powers could refill there strength
They could not, we are not dealing with what ifs
stiltzkin wrote- defense is still the stronger form of combat they had sufficient experience
Clearly this is incorrect. Certain conditions have to be met for the defense to be stronger.. ratio of forces, depth of defense, organisation, these were lacking at the points the Germans concentrated on in there opening attack.

That the soviets were victorious due to manpower industry, depth of territory and Geo strategic position is not up for argument. But German over confidence and failure to form an operational plan which took account of reality also aided

And there tank park was full of obsolete models in 1941 even if they had 1000 new models consisting of t34 and kv1 that still left 19,000,0 other less mobile less protected vehicles that were being used while production of newer models expanded .....

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Stiltzkin » 10 Dec 2018 02:53

And there tank park was full of obsolete models in 1941 even if they had 1000 new models consisting of t34 and kv1 that still left 19,000,0 other less mobile less protected vehicles that were being used while production of newer models expanded .....
All belligerents did it like that. Furthermore, they had more vehicles of the new types than Germany had Mark IIIs and IVs. I do not think that the argument of the "obsolescent" tank park is a strong or even a valid one (not to mention that T-26s and BTs have superior combat ratings compared to Mark I and II, in many tank models), especially considering that most of the casualties were inflicted by mortars and 76mm field guns anyway. A substantial amount of irrecoverables were a product of the enemies swift advance (control of the territory and holding the initiative is key), the number of combat losses were greater in the later stages of the war, i.e. stocks of newer types of tanks would have "starved" in the attack. The Soviets had 700 tanks available when Barbarossa derailed (Moscow strategic defense). Clearly, the idea that their tank park was responsible for their failure is a weak argument, unless you want to argue that the RKKA fought and executed their actions in the same way as the Wehrmacht did (hint: They won the war in a Great War fashion). People have argued that 100000000 Mark VIs or Vs would have won Germany the war, or that the increase of T-34s was the reason for success. This is usually the observation of an amateur, detached from the nature of this conflict.

That their positions were unfavourable, would have been a problem of anticipation, a result of their own incapability (especially that of their political leadership), but even with the best preparation they would have suffered annihilation in the Western district - there was no difference between WW1 and WW2. Hannibal annihilated Roman legions at Trasimene and Cannae and still lost the war. You see, there are only a few ways to Moscow, via the Smolensk road and Kiev, as well as the only supply lines, the old Imperial railways. It is not difficult to predict the enemies intentions.
The success in 1944 was generated by the correlation of strengths between Axis and Soviet forces. If you cut Soviet strength to 1941 levels in the summer of 1941 and remove all fronts, the army groups survive. If (as many people perpetually claim), their forces truly improved, then they would have succeeded with a strength of 1,200,000 and not 2,400,000, with or without a further impact of two fronts. This was not the case.
The reality was that the Soviets survived Barbarossa because they could bleed and give ground, their ability to absorb damage was tremendous. I conjecture that the Soviet Union was the best prepared system to face such a war, unprecedented in the 20th century next to France in WW1.
The upbeat in 1941? All they could do is prolong and continue to die, as long as the Axis was not weakened or overextended, there was not much they could do. They could have stopped the onlsaught if the Allies were still on the continent, simultanously threatening the Rhineland.

Note that I argued that the RKKA did not fail, it succeeded, so I contradict the OPs stance, since the mission of capturing the capital failed, but the Army of 1941 seemed to be more capable than that of 1944 (a claim only very few would support, I do) and their chance of completely stopping the Axis forces in 1941 was slim. The Soviets knew that in a future war with a Western nation, they would be suffering terrible losses, hence they prepared accordingly. This has been researched by Samuelson in the Muscovite archives, an analysis of economic and military planning from 1928-41 (they conducted massive maneuvers, simulating an invasion with two groups).

You have also stated that the tactical superiority of the Wehrmacht did not matter. This is absurd, since it is exactly the reason why the Red Army suffered such casualties and was also the only reason why the Wehrmacht could continue its fight with unfavourable odds and the prospect of survival relied on this phenomenon. Why is it also important?
1.)Both belligerents were in a race against time. The Soviets did not profit from a prolonged war, because the Nazis had a casualty infliction superiority of 600-800% (due to a difference in both nations development levels), they had to reach Berlin before they would run out of men. The ability to refill their losses was not primarily a result of a pan-slavic "friendship", rather it was forced under the boot of the Soviet regime in Moscow and the "clean vest" the Anglo-American press generated for the Soviets, influencing the public opinion.
2.)The failure of Barbarossa and irresolution of the war in the East meant that Germany was exposed for the emergence of (old) new fronts, which (historically) kicked in. A long economic war would have favoured the Axis, since they were economically superior to the USSR (and backing them via LL was a difficult and gradual undertaking).
3.)If the Axis had made less strategic errors, then fighting the front to a standstill would have been feasible, to me this is not in the realm of fantasy at all. The only other alternative they had was finding new allies. The same applies to the Soviets: Destruction of the Army groups might have been achieved earlier, in 1943.
What is also very important to remember: If you compare the manpower generation of the USSR to China, its dwarfed. If you compare the tactical performance of the Soviet soldier to a Japanese one, then the tactical disparity is gone.

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by doogal » 10 Dec 2018 21:56

I said in the end german tactical superiority didn't matter ...

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by BDV » 10 Dec 2018 22:24

doogal wrote:I said in the end german tactical superiority didn't matter ...
it did matter to the millions of Soviet soldiers and civvies that died accounting for that imbalance; for a losing effort, no less, in the first 15 months of GPW
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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 13 Dec 2018 20:18

Funny how we could talk about "soviet failure during barbarossa" whereas it was a soviet success and a german failure indeed !

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by jesk » 13 Dec 2018 22:28

DavidFrankenberg wrote:
13 Dec 2018 20:18
Funny how we could talk about "soviet failure during barbarossa" whereas it was a soviet success and a german failure indeed !
Even more funny as Germans were powerless to capture Moscow in 1942, being in 80 km from it. Leningrad... 0 km

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 14 Dec 2018 23:27

jesk wrote:
13 Dec 2018 22:28
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
13 Dec 2018 20:18
Funny how we could talk about "soviet failure during barbarossa" whereas it was a soviet success and a german failure indeed !
Even more funny as Germans were powerless to capture Moscow in 1942, being in 80 km from it. Leningrad... 0 km
They were defended, you know... if Leningrad was 0km away, then Stalingrad was -5km, and the Germans still couldn't capture it.

I don't understand the 80km from Moscow at all. Rhzev was like 200km from Moscow. Well, your fantasies about the "idle" AGM might seem as a plausible excuse for a stillborn invasion, but it was the bitter reality in fact.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Stiltzkin » 15 Dec 2018 04:37

They were defended, you know... if Leningrad was 0km away, then Stalingrad was -5km, and the Germans still couldn't capture it.

I don't understand the 80km from Moscow at all. Rhzev was like 200km from Moscow. Well, your fantasies about the "idle" AGM might seem as a plausible excuse for a stillborn invasion, but it was the bitter reality in fact.
I think a lot of people get confused over the "Haltebefehl". The German Army did indeed decide to stand idle in 1941 (they might have lost the nerve) and retreating to hastily prepared defenses is not inherently better than keeping up the attack under certain circumstances, but that should not deter from the fact that they were being pushed back by massive reserves, so that either way, an overextension would have provoked encirclement (as was the case in 1942).
One should also keep in mind why Fall Blau happened in the first place: The Red Army failed in the spring and summer offensives of 1942, which left open a wide gap, reaching deep into the steppes. I honestly think that after the failure of Barbarossa, the High Command opted for a long war, that is why they grabbed for resources in the caucasus. They could not knock out the Soviets in a quick strike, but could do so via an (economic) long war, however they were unable to effectively defend Central Europe (and mount a defense in the Atlantic) without sufficient oil. In Case Blue, their Allies gave them a false sense of security - Heeresgruppe Süd overextended and parts of it were annihilated, which consequently threatened all formations in the entire theatre.

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by jesk » 15 Dec 2018 10:19

Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2018 23:27
jesk wrote:
13 Dec 2018 22:28
DavidFrankenberg wrote:
13 Dec 2018 20:18
Funny how we could talk about "soviet failure during barbarossa" whereas it was a soviet success and a german failure indeed !
Even more funny as Germans were powerless to capture Moscow in 1942, being in 80 km from it. Leningrad... 0 km
They were defended, you know... if Leningrad was 0km away, then Stalingrad was -5km, and the Germans still couldn't capture it.

I don't understand the 80km from Moscow at all. Rhzev was like 200km from Moscow. Well, your fantasies about the "idle" AGM might seem as a plausible excuse for a stillborn invasion, but it was the bitter reality in fact.
This is an analogy on shaky grounds. If the Germans could not take Stalingrad, so the attacks on Moscow and Leningrad were doomed too !? But not a fact ...

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Re: Soviet failure during Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 15 Dec 2018 10:42

jesk wrote:
15 Dec 2018 10:19
Even more funny as Germans were powerless to capture Moscow in 1942, being in 80 km from it. Leningrad... 0 km

(...)

If the Germans could not take Stalingrad, so the attacks on Moscow and Leningrad were doomed too !? But not a fact ...
Dude, you came up with the idea that a target's distance per se determines whether they could capture it or not.

From my pov the situation around Leningrad and the Rhzev salient wasnt funny, and the germans tried their best to conquer.

Given the Soviet army dispositionand strength around Rhzev, Moscow could have been 1000km away. The Germans in fact solidified their positions in july 1942.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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