Over-all, German oil and gas production was halved by October The German Army used up their entire allotment of fuel, lubricants, oil, rubber and other materials by the end of summer. Food production could barely keep up, as imports from South America, Turkey, Asia, and the Middle East slowed to a trickle. Finally, the Germans had only , reserves of soldiers to cover any losses. By October , their total losses were at , They simply did not possess the manpower for another campaign.
The shortage of manpower, especially in the infantry would later force the Wehrmacht to reduce the number of men per platoon to 3 squads instead of 4. Many regiments would be reduced to just 2 battalions. The Germans could replace lost panzers; but they never could replace the loss of their infantry. Basically, the Wehrmacht would run out of steam between Smolensk and Vyazma. Now had German industry been converted to a full war footing in as the British had been, for example, the supply question might have been ameliorated somewhat.
Japan takes softer stand with Russia, N. Korea to resolve issues
I have seen the argument in many places, including in this discussion, that a Soviet defeat would have allowed the Germans to concentrate their military in the west, with dire consequences for the Allies. While it is no doubt true that additional German divisions in France would greatly alter the outlook, is that really what would have happened?
What happens then? Conquering territory is one thing. Holding it is quite another. That population is seething with discontent, a situation that will only worsen with time as Nazi plans for the East become more apparent.
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The Heer cannot simply pack up and head west. The air and heavy armour units probably can, but a great many infantry units will have to remain to keep the country under at least some level of control. That nation, while much weaker than the USSR, would still be potent. Large numbers of refugees from western Russia will be flowing in. It will have access to Anglo-American aid via Iran and Siberia.
Germany will have to detail substantial forces to guard the border. Maybe not so many tanks and planes can be moved west after all. The British are not going to just stand by and watch the Germans seize the Baku oilfields. As the Germans approach, the British forces in Iran would be sent forward into the Caucasus. Before reaching Baku the Germans would find themselves engaged with the British and remnants of the Soviet army. The Germans might have substantial numerical superiority, but they would also be operating in rugged, defence-friendly terrain at the end of an extremely long supply line.
In view of all this, how much of the Wehrmacht could actually have left Russia? I think the bewildering array of alternate strategies presented in these comments makes clear what a chore Germany had on her hands.
Invading and defeating Russia is no picnic. But then the Germans had done it barely 25 years before. It seems to me that Stalin was in many respects the key to Soviet victory.
So I have to wonder what he would have done if the Germans had been on the verge of surrounding the city. Would he have perished in glory, resisting the fascists to the end? Or would he have fled at last, realizing no difficult task for him that he was indispensable to continued resistance. And if he had fled, would he have even been able to maintain control of his rump state? He hardly lacked for enemies.
Thankfully, people with an interest in military history are usually skeptical of this Tolstoylian notion. He had too much suspicion of the British and French and not enough of the Germans. He completely misread Hitler, and he stuck with his misguided view even when his diplomats and intelligence services tried to warn him. There is just no way that should have happened. The only peace with England that Hitler contemplated in was a capitulation, with Wehrmacht troops marching into Whitehall and Nazi stooges in the cabinet. There was no peace with honor available at that point.
And that would have left him free to put virtually his full might against the Soviet Union.
BLAST PRO SERIES MOSCOW
The almost certain conquest of the same would have left Hitler stronger than Stalin was in , and dominating all of Europe, not just the east, and with no Allied forces to oppose him. Churchill did the right thing. I think we should never lose sight of the fact that the Wehrmacht made the assumption that the Soviet Campaign could be completed in 1 and only 1 campaign season. In fact, that assumption was more like a wish, a desperate wish. While Hitler voiced his objections, he still ceded operational control to Halder and OKH, because at that time he still possessed quite a bit of respect for the German General Staff.
The seeds of disaster were set.
Their execution for the initial stages went like clockwork from June, AG Center completed its infamous double encirclement of Bilotsk-Minsk. For a few days it looked like the Wehrmacht completed its main goal of defeating the vast armies of the Soviet Union as close to the frontiers as possible.
Little did Halder realize that Timonshenko was in the process of deploying another 5 field armies along the Dnieper Land Bridge. In other words, the heart of the OKH operational plan was already in tatters. What should have been a week operation lasted 8 weeks. OKH planned on being in Moscow no later than August. What is ironic is the fact that a little known German staff officer by the name of Friedrich Paulus war gamed this possibility in the winter of But, he did correctly calculate the expenditure of ammunition, spare parts, fuel, and other supplies. At the early stages of planning, Hitler probably would have conceded a 2 year campaign if it was presented to him in a logical rational manner.
Hitler himself hoped against hope that Stalin would be overthrown once the Wehrmacht concluded on smashing victory. Seen from this point of view, the Battle for Moscow was a fools game. The acrobats threw backflips. Outside there were used Japanese cars everywhere.
There were cars on the roof deck and cars on the bow, cars around the swimming pool and cars next to the lifeboats. Inside the pool, which had been drained the day before we set sail, were two identical SUVs sandwiching a white Honda minivan. Judging from the bottle after bottle of expensive champagne that Alexei bought, shook up, and sprayed all over the circus girls, the tire business is lucrative. The highway was the reason Alexei sold so many tires: Rather than go west via semitruck or train, most of the imports are simply driven across the void.
Japan takes softer stand with Russia, N. Korea to resolve issues：The Asahi Shimbun
The highway was also the reason photographer Aaron Huey and I were here: Banking on a glut of empty westbound seats, we planned to hitchhike 6, miles to Moscow. Exploring Siberia was once synonymous with the Trans-Siberian Railroad, a form of travel as controlled and preprogrammed as the economy once was. He bought us a lunch of raw salmon, laughingly pointed out mistakes in our Russian phrase book, and then pulled the SIM card out of the back of his cell phone and handed it to me. I could stick it in my own phone to have a local number.
After a few days in Vladivostok, we called him.
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