Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by doogal » 21 Jan 2019 20:15

OKH and OKW would have considered the Soviet Union in an operational sense as soon as it occupied Poland. But as an organisation they would have believed that a leaderless Red Army following Stalins purges militated against an early Soviet Invasion especially as the "Pact of Steel" was still applicable from 1939 to 1941. Hitler had available little more information than the GGS and with not much information coming out of Soviet Russia would have held similar views. His decision to attack in itself says that he was unaware of not only Soviet intentions (as a strategic defensive operation Barbarossa cannot be taken seriously)but lacked knowledge of the Soviet economy and the state of its industry. This lack of knowledge of what was happening inside the Soviet Union must also include its military preparations(apart from observable movements) and possible operational deployments. Both the GGS and Hitler would conclude that the Soviet Union could become an offensive threat at some point. But prior to 1941 i think not.

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Feb 2019 23:18

redcoat wrote:
19 Jan 2019 17:02
Even in 42 oil restrictions were having a major restriction on German military actions, that why they focused solely on the Southern front, they did have the fuel to go on offensive operations with all three army groups.
Even in '41

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by mezsat2 » 19 Jun 2019 06:18

[/quote]Even with Soviet imports Greater Germany was suffering an oil deficit, if Germany was going to invade the Soviet Union it needed it to be in 41 before the deficit started having a profound effect on Germanys oil stockpiles

Hitler could have invaded Romania instead of USSR. Romania could give him 8 millions of tons of oil.

But did you notice that, despite this "lack of oil", german forces still fight all over the world till 45 ?
I fear this "lack of oil" is pretty much exagerated indeed.

Why would Hitler invade his ally, Romania? Instead, Stalin's focus should have been Romania. He could
have gathered all his pre-Barbarossa obsolete tanks, aircraft, and millions of men (who were quickly lost, anyway
in June) into a mass phalanx for a suicide mission into Romania to completely destroy the oilfields.

This would have been the only possible scenario where a "pre-emptive" Soviet strike may have yielded
long term results. It's hard to see how Hitler could continue the war for long without Romanian oil. The
looted stocks from his conquests in the west would only last a few weeks.

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by bam » 07 Aug 2019 00:03

Yes Hitler feared the soviet Union, and had done since he wrote mein kampf.

A little known fact about the opening moves of operation barbarossa is this: there was actually one place were the Soviets advanced over their western borders and invaded another country on June 22/3/4... Romania.
This is from memory, so my jist is right but my exact facts/places maybe hazy.
Stalin had moved some elite hi quality mountain divisions to a sector of the danube border with NE Romania. They actually had prepared plans of how to attack across the river into Romania. Ploesti oilfields were about 350 miles away. On June 22nd after initial confusion, soviet units along the whole western soviet border were ordered to counterattack everywhere. In this danube sector, about 3 mountain divisions did, assaulted across the river, and captured a bridgehead on the Romanian side, which they held for a few days, until ordered to retreat due to axis advances on their flanks. This was the only place the Soviets managed an advance.
The point is that to undertake a large river assault requires boats, artillery fire plans, specialised equipment etc etc. It requires preparation, logistics, training, rehearsals etc. It couldn't have been done in 24hrs without pre existing supplies and plans. They did it. They were ready to do it. They had detailed plans for invading Romania, dating from as recently as 1940 when they wanted to annex Bessarabia, as they had expected to have to fight to achieve annexation.

The obvious strategic move for stalin in 1939/40 is to let Germany fight the French, let the majority of german troops get sucked into Western Europe, then get soviet forces to do a quick grab for Ploesti, just 350 miles away. Grab the oil, and you have the Germans in a bind. They will run out of oil to fight a war within a few months without Ploesti in 1940: its about half their oil source.
While the world was distracted by the fall of France ( the guarantor of Romania's borders), Stalin bloodlessly grabbed Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from an intimidated Romania on June 28 1940. He now had his forces adjacent to the danube, within striking distance of Ploesti.

If Germany had got sucked into an invasion of Britain in Sept 1940, which would have required sending the bulk of his panzer, Luftwaffe and best troops over the Channel to England, there would've been nothing substantial to stop a soviet move on Romania. Hitler would've had to extract his forces from a difficult attack and send them 1000s of miles east. It wouldn't have been in time to prevent the Soviets getting to Ploesti, which was within operational distance of soviet forces. Stalin would've appeared as the saviour of the English, who couldn't then oppose his land grab. Germany would've been forced to sue for peace on unfavorable terms or fight a 2 front war without enough oil for 1 front.

Soviet planning since the 1920s was geared towards military conquest of Europe, IMHO. They realised that revolutions had failed in the west. The only way to overthrow Europe by revolution was after military defeat or exhaustion. They invented "deep battle" strategy, basically blitzkrieg by another name, in the 30s. They had 30,000 tanks by 1940 when Germany France and England had barely 3000, 4000, 1000. They had divisions of paratroopers before Germany had any. They had tons of artillery and ammo, and factories to make more. The whole country was set up to make offensive weapons and divisions, over any other considerations. Their military was huge, and secret and hidden. All for defence? Their airforce was set up for attack, with short range assault aircraft. The best defence is lots of the 4 engined strategic bombers to threaten an attackers homeland. They didn't have that.

I have very very sadly come to the conclusion that western Europe owes Germany a debt, for if that unspeakable git hadn't invaded Russia, they'd have definitely invaded us sooner or later. And probably reached the channel. The west just weren't strong enough in 1940 to prevent them.
The Great loser in ww2 is actually the soviet Union. In 1940 they were poised to overrun Europe, against armies largely unprepared for their strength. By 1945 they had grabbed half of Europe, but they would get no further. They had lost so much manpower fighting the Germans, that they were now too weak to fight the combined UK and USA alliance that was now mobilised and fighting fit. The chance had passed, and the west was now alert to the soviet threat. And stayed alert until that evil empire collapsed.

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by john2 » 07 Aug 2019 04:43

In reply to the original post. Hitler's letter was most likely a made up excuse. The actual situation is a bit more complicated. In July 1940 Hitler had a military conference to discuss the current situation. Hitler explained to his generals the war with Britain would likely be a long one. The longer the war the greater the chance the US and Russia would intervene. The plan was to attack Russia as soon as possible - in the spring of 1941. The elimination of Russia would free Japan to expand in the Pacific where Hitler hoped she would run into conflict with the US. With the US distracted and Russia defeated Britain would presumably be more willing to make peace. Historians are somewhat divided over if Hitler was offering a real strategy or not. Was this a real plan to defeat Britain or an excuse to attack Russia. It was most likely some of both. There was a certain logic in invading the SU when he did. As for fear of a Soviet invasion Halder wrote in his diary that he feared Russia would attack the oil fields in Romania or bomb "our hydrogenation plants." It's true that the SU certainly had the potential to mess with Germany but that's different from what actual intentions were. Immediately after the fall of France there was some fear Stalin might try to launch a preventative war however as time went by this fear went down. An interesting quote by Hitler in early 1941 I believe is where he says that "It may be a hundred years but they [Russia] will come." This certainly doesn't sound like fear of an imminent attack. The military also had concerns. Halder in his diary mentioned the possibility Stalin could turn on Germany but thought it better to limit the war if possible saying "...better to stay friends with Russia."

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Re: Was Hitler and the Wehrmacht anticipating/fearing a Soviet invasion?

Post by john2 » 07 Aug 2019 04:54

In reply to bam - The problem is people want to turn Stalin into a mirror image of Hitler. While it's true he was brutal - perhaps even more so than Hitler they were not the same. Stalin's plan was not to launch operation Thunderstorm or Icebreaker or what not. It was to embroil Germany in a long war allowing him to pick off the countries of eastern Europe one by one. As for Germany Stalin was thinking along the lines of the first world war where Germany had become weak and exhausted and was beset with revolutionary movements. An attack in 1940 or '41 only makes sense if Stalin was thinking in terms of a preventative war but there is no evidence this. What the evidence does show is that Stalin tried to revive his long war strategy - Britain had survived the blitz and the US was becoming more active in the war. Believing Russia wasn't ready to fight he tried to buy Hitler off with economic concessions which failed. Finally he rejected intelligence that didn't fit his ideas and thought Britain was lying when they warned of an invasion.

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